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News From 2016

Kumquats perform well in Mississippi when given winter protection. Gardeners eat just the peel of this beautiful fruit. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
October 24, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I like the changing of the seasons, as it means we get to plant a new set of color annuals like pansies, violas and dianthuses. The cooler weather draws us back out to enjoy gardening activities, many of which were put on hold in the heat of the summer.

Mississippi Representative Ken Morgan of Marion County, left, examines a wood product held by Dan Seale, a professor of sustainable bioproducts at the R.T. Clapp Forest Products Lab at Mississippi State University. Morgan and other members of Senate and House agricultural committees visited MSU on Oct. 18 and 19, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
October 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Community

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University hosted state legislators serving on agricultural committees to provide a glimpse into the institution's efforts to support veterinary medicine, forestry and agriculture.

Bill Herndon, associate vice president for the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, helped plan the Oct. 18 and 19 tours. About 25 members of the Mississippi House and Senate agricultural committees visited the university's north farm, dairy processing plant, Wood Magic Science Fair and College of Veterinary Medicine.

A successful fisherman knows that a productive and healthy lake is important to produce large fish. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
October 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Contrary to popular belief, fish don't like "clean" water.

If you have ever accidentally placed your pet fish in a bowl of pure, distilled water, you know what I mean. Fish have salts and other compounds in their blood. If their external environment is too different from their internal environment, fish have to fight continuously to keep the salts in and the water out.

Brittany Lipsey, a Mississippi State University graduate student from Louisville, Mississippi, is researching management techniques that can be used to combat sugarcane aphids, helping sorghum farmers have a sustainable future with the crop. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
October 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Grains, Insects-Crop Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fewer Mississippi producers are looking at grain sorghum as a crop rotation option since an introduced pest became a major problem, a trend Mississippi State University researchers are working to reverse.

The sugarcane aphid is a nonnative pest introduced to the United States in Florida in 1977. By the late 1990s, it had been found in Louisiana. In both states, the pest initially fed on sugarcane. At some point, the aphid began feeding on Johnsongrass, a significant weed found in sugarcane and other crops in the Midsouth.

Katy Chen of Louisville, Mississippi, holds the unofficial mascot of May’s Corn Maze in Stewart, Mississippi, in front of the agritourism farm’s pumpkin patch. The state enjoyed a strong pumpkin harvest for the second straight year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
October 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi's October weather has offered more than enough of the most vital tonic pumpkins need for growth: full sunlight.

But the state has lacked another key element: water. Fortunately, the majority of the state’s pumpkin fields are irrigated, so the ongoing drought has had little effect on this year’s plentiful harvest.

However, nonirrigated pumpkin acreage has seen better days, said Casey Barickman, an assistant professor at the Mississippi State University North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.

October 20, 2016 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Proper nutrition, physical activity and food safety precautions can help pregnant women deliver healthy babies.

Niti Puri, a dietetic intern in the Mississippi State University Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, said expectant mothers should consume higher levels of some key vitamins and minerals and take extra precautions against food-borne illnesses.

October 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Adequate forage for livestock is becoming a concern for Mississippi producers as drought conditions persist, but alternative hay sources and feeding options can compensate for shortages.

The Mississippi Hay Directory helps livestock producers locate hay supplies. The directory is updated each time a new entry is submitted, and listings expire after 60 days.

October 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Field Scale Crop Assessment with Drones

The Geosystems Research Institute (GRI) at Mississippi State University has released a new web application, "GeoDawg," that gives Mississippians the ability to easily use the capabilities of a powerful geographic information system (GIS).


The Sorbet series of violas, such as this Midnight Glow selection, resist stretching and stay compact through winter and even as temperatures rise in the spring. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
October 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

An important step in keeping year-round color in the garden and landscape is planting and transitioning the annual color plants.

Within the last month, I’ve planted my favorite fall French marigolds, also called Mari-mums. My Telstar dianthuses and snapdragons are also in and starting to show off. At the beginning of September, I pulled my Blue Daze evolvuluses from the front walk bed and replaced them with some beautiful, tight-budded mini chrysanthemums.

The use of succulents is a popular trend in the green industry. These plants with soft, juicy leaves and stems are good choices for low-water-use gardening. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
October 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Increasing markets for local foods and succulent plants are encouraging green industry suppliers to offer new products for horticulture customers.

Mississippi foliage is just beginning to change to fall colors in Oktibbeha County on Oct. 12, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
October 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Trees, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It appears the fickle Mississippi weather has finally caught up with the calendar.

As of the Autumnal Equinox on Sept. 22, we entered autumn or fall, a glorious transitional season between the sweltering heat and humidity of summer and the cold, damp days of winter. Recent cooler days and crisp nights attest to the change.

October 13, 2016 - Filed Under: Farming, Health, Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State University agricultural economists are hosting an Oct. 27-28 sustainable agriculture conference that integrates environmental health, economic profitability and consumer demand for efficient, long-term use of resources.

The Mississippi Agricultural Economics Association is holding its 42nd annual meeting at MSU to discuss sustainability in agriculture.

Lynn McMahan of Vancleave, past president of the Mississippi Master Gardeners, learns about plant diseases from Clarissa Balbalian, manager of the Mississippi State University Extension Service's plant diagnostic lab, during campus tours in 2013. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
October 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Master Gardener

TUPELO, Miss. -- For more than a quarter century, Mississippians with a love for horticulture have been helping to educate and serve their communities through a nationwide Extension Service program.

Marjan de Regt, right, a Washington County row crop farmer from the Netherlands, visits her son, Skyler, an agribusiness major at Mississippi State University. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
October 11, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Women for Agriculture, Community

HOLLANDALE, Miss. -- Marjan de Regt and her husband, Jan, planned to spend three years farming in the Mississippi Delta before returning to their native Netherlands.

That was 29 years ago, and the family still calls Hollandale home.

The de Regts farmed 2,600 acres of soybeans, 500 acres of rice and 200 acres of corn in 2016. This year was only the third time they tried corn.

October 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Family, Healthy Homes Initiative

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Kids spend a lot of time indoors, and while that inactivity contributes to a lack of exercise, it also can cause other kinds of health problems.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, suggested five important tips for keeping the home environment healthy.

King Tut papyrus, growing here at the Mississippi State University South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville, make a good addition to Mississippi landscapes either as an annual or a perennial. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
October 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

At the 43rd annual Ornamental Field Day this weekend at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville, one plant that drew a lot of attention was the exotic-looking King Tut papyrus.

This grass-like plant growing in Mississippi State University's trial garden can easily grow to 6 feet tall, and it has a striking presence in the landscape. King Tut is a member of the same papyrus family of plants that the ancient Egyptians used to make paper. Its dramatic appearance makes for a great conversation about its connection to the distant past.

Monroe County Extension agent Randall Nevins, left, reviews horticulture career options with Karen Carothers and Elsie Buskes, both of Oxford, Mississippi. Dennis Reginelli, right, a regional specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, joins the discussion at a career expo for eighth-graders in Tupelo, Mississippi, on Oct. 5, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
October 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community, Natural Resources

TUPELO, Miss. -- Some eighth-grade students may have career dreams but no clue how to make them real. Others may not even have dreams yet.

Bill Burdine, a regional specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, helped assemble professionals to staff exhibits in the agriculture and natural resources section of a recent career expo in Tupelo. The 2016 Imagine the Possibilities Northeast Mississippi Career Expo targeted 7,000 eighth-graders from 72 school districts in 17 counties.

Signs posted on property help make everyone aware of property boundaries and often prevent trespass problems. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Daryl Jones)
October 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners often worry about trespassers entering their land, whether intentionally or by mistake, during hunting season.

Aside from not willfully or wantonly causing injury to trespassers, landowners have no other responsibility to these interlopers.

Mississippi cotton farmers are more than halfway through harvesting what is expected to be the fourth straight year the state has averaged more than 1,000 pounds of cotton per acre. This Coahoma County cotton was waiting for harvest Sept. 29, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
October 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Cotton

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There's no reason for cotton farmers to sing the blues this year.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said cotton harvest was nearly halfway done by the first week of October. Early yields suggest the state will average more than 1,000 pounds of cotton per acre.

Good prices provided the icing on the cake.

Mississippi 4-H’ers in the Oktibbeha County Clover Dawgs robotics engineering club celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day. The Oct. 5 event features an engineering challenge for young people. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
October 6, 2016 - Filed Under: 4-H, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Local 4-H’ers weren't waiting until 4-H National Youth Science Day on Wednesday to open their 4-H Drone Discovery Challenge kits. Instead, the Clover Dawgs robotics engineering club began work Friday.

Each Oktibbeha County kid looked skeptically at the first set of components for the much-anticipated activity: a green, plastic tube that resembled a thick-walled straw, along with a short, white, lightweight propeller. Their mission was to build plastic helicopters.