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News From 2016

Alex Deason, 4-H agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Sunflower County, left, helps his 4-H members with one of the four hogs they had in the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions on Feb. 11, 2016, in Jackson, Mississippi. Anna Grace Rowland, second from left, Sherman Timbs and Sarah Thomas Smith shaved Deason’s head after they won a friendly bet with him by getting four pigs in the sale. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
February 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Youth Livestock

JACKSON, Miss. -- Alex Deason made members of his 4-H livestock judging team a deal they could not resist.

“I told them if any of them could get a hog in the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions, they could shave my head,” said Deason, 4-H agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Sunflower County.

The 4-H’ers took this wager seriously. They not only got one hog in the sale. Team members got four hogs in the sale. And Deason? He has a freshly shaven head.

Before fertilizing a pond, be sure there will enough fishing to take care of the increased fish population. (Photo by MSU Extension/Wes Neal)
February 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The decision to fertilize a fishing pond is one that should not be taken lightly.

A fertilization program can greatly increase fish production in fishing ponds. Adding nutrients stimulates the growth of microscopic plants, or algae, which feed the small animals that feed the fish.

February 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Community

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Artists and craftsmen can enter their work in the Crosby Arboretum Foundation Art Show set for April 2 and 3 in Picayune.

The show will depict the heritage of the Piney Woods region, and art entries should represent the area’s features, flora, fauna and culture. Artwork showcasing the arboretum is welcome and encouraged. The Crosby Arboretum Foundation sponsors the show.

February 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners who manage pine plantations can simplify tree thinning by using a new app created by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Guide to Thinning Southern Pines, or Pine Thin, was developed to allow landowners and foresters to quickly determine if a pine stand needs thinning by taking advantage of smartphone technology.

James Henderson, associate Extension forestry professor, said thinning is a way to maintain timberland growth rates.

February 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Community

GULFPORT, Miss. -- Teachers from four Mississippi schools will go back to college this summer through a partnership with the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach.

The Mississippi Department of Education selected the Gulfport School District and Picayune School District for participation in the In-Depth Mathematical Practices and Content Teacher Training (IMPACT2) program during the 2016-2017 school year.

February 9, 2016 - Filed Under: Farm Safety

COWART, Miss. -- Mississippi farmers can safely get rid of unusable agricultural chemicals and old tires during a free disposal event on Feb. 24 in Tallahatchie County.

Event organizers will accept insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other pesticide products at the Cowart Gin Yard and Tallahatchie Farmers Supply located at 3990 Tippo Road between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

No rinsates, household waste pesticides or products in bulk containers will be accepted.

Some saucer magnolias can have blooms up to 10 inches across with colors ranging from white and pink to a bold purple. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
February 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

With extremely warm weather in the fall and so far this winter, many of our flowering landscape plants are really confused. I’ve seen fantastic spring displays of color in December and January.

This weather pattern creates a few problems, none of which we can solve as gardeners. We can’t control the weather, like the cold snap that came through the first week of February. When flowers begin to open too early, a quick dip into the low 30s or upper 20s will quickly turn them into mush.

February 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife Economics and Enterprises

ROLLING FORK, Miss. -- Landowners and hunting clubs eager to earn extra income while improving land management for wildlife are invited to attend a Natural Resource Enterprises Business Workshop.

The March 1 event will be at the Community Center in Rolling Fork.

Unwanted yard and flowerbed weeds such as this common dandelion can be avoided by using herbicides before spring begins and fertilizing lawns after the threat of frost has passed. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Nathan Gregory)
February 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Weed Control for Lawn and Garden

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring is still several weeks away, but now is a good time to prevent unsightly weeds from invading home lawns when the weather warms up.

A common weed control method during late winter and early spring is the use of herbicides. Preemergence herbicides are sprays or granular formulas -- many of which also include fertilizer -- that can be used to kill weeds before they start to grow. Postemergence herbicides are best for use on weeds not controlled by the preemergence treatment.

The Mississippi River set flood records in January at Greenville and points south. The flooded Greenville Yacht Club and a casino in the background are seen in this January 10, 2016, photo. (Submitted Photo by Mississippi Levee Board/Peter Nimrod)
February 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

GREENVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi River flooding in January set all-time records, but dropping water levels may mean the river will have enough capacity to accept typical spring rains without triggering atypical flooding.

Peter Nimrod, chief engineer with the Mississippi Levee Board in Greenville, said the Greenville January gauge reading of 56.2 feet set a record. The normal depth for that month is about 30 feet.

February 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects-Human Pests

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Zika virus is now among the list of mosquito-borne viruses Mississippians should guard against, but standard defenses can help prevent spread of the disease.

A suspected link between the infection and certain birth defects, including microcephaly, prompted the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of international concern on Feb. 1. Babies with microcephaly are born with smaller-than-usual heads due to interrupted brain development.

Different birdfeeder styles appeal to different bird species, so installing a greater variety of feeders will attract diverse birds. Most backyard bird species prefer black oil sunflower seeds. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Adam Rohnke)
February 5, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- You can easily get overwhelmed by the variety of birdfeeders and birdseed blends available online or at your local store.

As with anything, birdfeeders and birdseed can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Following the simple tips I offer in this column will ensure an enjoyable and effective bird feeding experience.

February 3, 2016 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Individuals interested in greenhouse tomato production can learn how to successfully grow and market the crop during the Greenhouse Tomato Short Course March 1 and 2 in Raymond.

Experienced growers and experts with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the University of Tennessee Extension Service and Auburn University will present seminars on all aspects of production during the 26th annual workshop.

Hard pruning of crape myrtles produces what appears to be lusher growth, but this results in a decrease in overall flowering. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
February 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

Every gardener I know is asking the same question: When’s spring going to get here?

No doubt we are getting close as we wait breathlessly this week for the prognostication of Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow and whether or not we can look forward to six more weeks of winter weather.

Cattle at the Henry H. Leveck Animal Research Center at Mississippi State University benefit from a concrete pad under the water trough in their pasture on Jan. 28, 2016. Concrete pads can reduce muddy conditions cattle endure during each Mississippi winter. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
January 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Beef

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Beef cattle producers are not seeing the record high prices from a year ago, but strong export numbers are providing reasons to hope 2016 will be profitable.

“Per capita consumption is predicted to be higher in 2016, beef production is expected to be up, and, most importantly, exports are projected to be significantly better than in 2015,” said Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

During spring and summer while bucks’ antlers are growing, they are covered with a tissue called velvet, as seen here. (Photo courtesy of Steve Gulledge)
January 29, 2016 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Nothing elicits wonder and fascination in the minds of deer hunters more than antlers.

Everyone can remember getting a case of the “goose bumps” during an encounter with an antlered buck, and many people remain captivated by antlers throughout their lives. So, why do deer have antlers?

Dr. Michaela Beasley shows the Mississippi State University Veterinary Specialty Center team members how fluid accumulates around the brain in a hydrocephalus case. (Photo by MSU College of Veterinary Medicine/Tom Thompson)
January 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Small Animals

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A new technique developed by a Mississippi State University veterinarian may improve the long-term management of obstructive hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, in small animals by reducing the rate of surgical complications.

The flowers of the native azalea piedmont, or honeysuckle azalea, are very fragrant and pleasant on a calm, early-morning garden stroll. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
January 25, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of the grandest and maybe gaudiest garden and landscape shows is the blooming of the Southern indica azaleas, especially in south Mississippi.

For most of the year, these shrubs play a supporting role in the landscape, which they do well, providing a great background for the warmer-season flowering plants. But in the spring when really nothing else is blooming, we can enjoy the Southern indica flower show.

January 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Homeowners may be wary of wasting water by allowing faucets to drip as a precaution during freezing weather, but they must weigh the cost of higher water bills against the much larger expense of repairing burst pipes.

Mississippi State University annually updates insect management recommendations so the state’s crop producers can rely on good data when making insect control decisions. The “Insect Control Guide for Agronomic Crops” includes information to help plan treatments for dozens of pests, including corn earworms, pictured here. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
January 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Knowing when to treat for insect pests in crops is vital to keeping yields high and controlling the costs of agricultural production.

Every year, the Mississippi State University Extension Service updates and publishes its “Insect Control Guide for Agronomic Crops.” The guide includes recommendations for nine crops, including the major row crops, as well as sweet potatoes and pastures.

Angus Catchot, MSU Extension Service entomologist, said all the recommendations in the insect control guide are based on research and tested in the field.