News From 2015
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Summer in Mississippi brings a bountiful buffet of fruits, vegetables, flowers and shrubs to enjoy -- but not just for people. White-tailed deer, avid plant browsers always eager for high-energy food, seem to enjoy the fruits of the gardener’s labor just as much!
Deer can be among the most destructive wildlife intruders for vegetable gardens, flower beds, trees, shrubs, berries and vines. In fact, a small herd of deer can eat and trample a small, backyard garden virtually overnight, according to the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Row crop producers who irrigate their crops can learn the benefits of soil moisture sensors during two separate field days planned for July and August.
Jason Krutz, an irrigation specialist with Mississippi State University, said farmers can learn about the advantages of using soil moisture sensors to determine when to irrigate.
Participants also can see the devices in action. Product demonstrations by manufacturers and distributors will showcase types of sensors, features and costs.
I’m like most home gardeners when it comes to working in and maintaining my garden and landscape. My philosophy to garden chores can be summed up by the catchphrase of a friend of mine who is a home improvement expert: “I’m all about easy.”
This philosophy is especially true during the heat and humidity of the summer.
But despite my desire to do things the easy way, there are important summer garden activities required to keep some flowering plants looking good. Deadheading is one of these maintenance chores that often gets overlooked.
INDIANOLA, Miss. -- Seed treatments have minimized thrips damage for the last decade, but farmers and entomologists fear some pesticides may be losing their punch in protecting cotton.
Scientists at Mississippi State University and other universities across the Midsouth have been aggressively exploring options for controlling thrips damage in cotton.
Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the MSU Extension Service, said the use of foliar treatments for thrips in cotton has grown steadily in recent years.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University professor is the new executive director of the Beef Improvement Federation.
GOODMAN, Miss. -- Farmers and producers can learn about the relationship between risk management and insurance during a July 17 field day at the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Farm near Goodman.
Participants also will receive training in legal and contractual issues. The National Center for Appropriate Technology Gulf States Office and the University of Mississippi Transactional Law Clinic will team up to deliver these sessions.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- High consumer demand and lower input costs have Mississippi catfish farmers filling their ponds to the brim.
“Consumer demand has stayed pretty high, and that has farmers stocking at high rates, even though pond acreage is down by almost 8 percent from last year,” said Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. “We are optimistic that consumers are still out there and demanding a U.S. farm-raised product.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Have you ever wondered why there seem to be a lot of turtles crossing the road this time of year?
The turtles you see crossing the road in spring and early summer are most often females. They are either in search of a good place to lay their eggs or returning to their home territory. Drivers should not risk a vehicle accident to avoid hitting a turtle on the road. However, unnecessary turtle deaths should be avoided.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The color red is a Fourth of July trademark, but sometimes it represents danger.
There are more fires reported on Independence Day than any other day of the year. Fireworks account for two out of every five of these fires. Injury rates are highest among 15- to 24-year-olds and second highest among 10-year-olds, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
In Mississippi, children as young as 12 can buy fireworks. State law prohibits cherry bombs, tubular salutes, repeating bombs, aerial bombs and torpedoes.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Summers are no laughing matter here in Mississippi, especially for those wearing fur coats.
Dr. Brittany Thames, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said dogs and cats are vulnerable to heat, but dogs are more prone to overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Most gardeners have favorite landscape plants they use every year, and I’m no different. But I also like to try new plants I see in garden centers or learn about from perusing winter catalogs.
This week, I want to tell you about some of the plants that are so far performing well in my landscape.
One plant I like to grow each summer is Blue Daze evolvulus, because this is an easy-to-care-for plant that needs minimal attention. Blue Daze has been around for a long time and was one of the first plants chosen as a Mississippi Medallion winner in 1996.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Andrew J. Kouba, director of conservation and research at the Memphis Zoo, is the new head of the Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Kouba will begin serving Aug. 16 as head of the academic, research and extension unit of the university’s College of Forest Resources.
LUCEDALE, Miss. -- Mississippi watermelon growers battled frequent rains to get their crops planted and ready in time for the Fourth of July and other summer celebrations.
David Nagel, horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the crop is smaller and later than normal.
“If the sun doesn’t shine, the leaves don’t make sugar, plants don’t grow and we have smaller watermelons,” Nagel said. “Recent sunny days are allowing some of the crop to catch up. Melons may still be small, but they will be sweet and firm, or crisp.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine student has won an award for his communication skills.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fifteen communication professionals at Mississippi State University won national awards June 8-11 at the annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence.
Bob Ratliff, marketing and communications coordinator for the MSU Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development, won an Award of Excellence for writing. Ratliff began his writing career in 1975 and has worked for the MSU Extension Service and the Progressive Farmer Radio Network.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Several Mississippi State University scientists and their colleagues recently won top honors in a national competition for providing research-based information on fish and wildlife management to the public.
The Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals awarded the 2015 Gold Award in the Outstanding Educational Materials Category for long publications to contributors of a new fisheries and wildlife management handbook, “Fish and Wildlife Management: A Handbook for Mississippi Landowners.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi boasts a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, with abundant lakes, rivers, forests, refuges, state parks, national parks and camping areas.
With that being said, any outdoor activity can also bring risks if recreation lovers not fully prepared.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Pitting farmers against beekeepers does little to solve the problems facing pollinators.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A lifelong beekeeper and Mississippi State University Extension Service apiculture specialist offers an unusual list of reasons for bee colony death.
“My top three reasons for bee colony death are Varroa mites, Varroa mites and Varroa mites,” said bee expert Jeff Harris. “This is my sarcastic response to the heavy emphasis in the press on the effects of insecticides and other pesticides on honey bees.
LORMAN, Miss. -- Producers can learn about low-cost, efficient water management practices for their farms during a seminar at Alcorn State University’s model farm in Lorman.
Bill Evans, an associate research professor at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, will be one of the featured speakers at the June 30 sustainable water management workshop.
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