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News From 2021

A single bloom has white petals with thin red stripes.
August 2, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This summer has been one of the toughest I’ve experienced in all my years in horticulture. The heat and humidity have taken a toll on our garden and landscape plants, as well as the gardeners. I’m getting older, and I’m wilting a lot faster than in the past.

Fuzzy, green pods grow on a soybean plant.
August 2, 2021 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Soybeans

Most soybeans in Mississippi are having a good year to date, with 82% of the crop appearing in good or excellent shape past the midway point in the season.

Prices also look good, with averages above those of recent years.

A group gathers around a table-top planter growing small plants.
July 27, 2021 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

In late July, 54 stakeholders from across the country met in person and remotely to hammer out their perspectives on the best way to sustain the nation’s sweet potato industry.

Three large, yellow flowers with dark centers bloom on green stems.
July 26, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When Mississippi’s oppressive heat and humidity drive gardeners indoors, there’s one blooming beauty sure to brings us back outdoors: the Rudbeckia. These flowers, also commonly known as black-eyed Susans, make gorgeous cut flowers for indoor use.

Man in a maroon shirt and baseball cap in a greenhouse.
July 22, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, AIM for CHangE, Mental Health First Aid

LOUISVILLE, Miss. -- Jim McAdory wears many hats. On any given day, the Mississippi State University Extension Service agent fields calls from local cattle farmers, teaches kids about the importance of daily nutrition, and tests soil to diagnose front yard and garden harvest problems -- all before lunch.

Based in Winston County, McAdory recently gained an additional role: Mental Health First Aid instructor.

Ruined watermelons lie in a muddy field.
July 21, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber, Watermelons

One month ago, watermelon production in southeast Mississippi was on track. Now, growers there have lost much of their crop to the summer’s wet weather.

A woman holds a stalk of grain while standing in a field.
July 20, 2021 - Filed Under: Rice, Soybeans

Researchers are learning how to manage rice fields when paraquat drifts onto them early and late in the season, but what impact this herbicide has on grain quality and what happens when drift occurs midseason are still unknowns.

Small pink flower clusters bloom at the end of branches.
July 19, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Looking at gardens and landscapes across the South in July, there’s one plant that has most gardeners talking. You may have guessed that I’m referring to the crape myrtle. Who doesn’t love the large, showy panicles with their many small, individual flowers?

Catfish swimming above a net.
July 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippi restaurants that serve catfish have had to pay their distributors more to keep the popular Southern dish on the menu this year or go without, but pond inventory is not the primary issue.

Instead, labor shortages at processing plants are more to blame, said Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. Industry data, he said, show processing is down 9% for the first five months of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020.

Bucket full of trash.
July 16, 2021 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Animal Health, Health, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The amount of trash along Mississippi’s roadways and waterways is distressing. Beer bottles, soda cans, soiled diapers, cardboard boxes and fast-food wrappers are routine. Tires, gas cans and household appliances are not uncommon.

Every day, people discard millions of tons of trash in recycling containers or garbage cans. Unfortunately, people also leave trash in other places where it can harm wildlife, pets and even other people.

Pink flowers bloom on a green plant
July 12, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of the best flowering annuals we can have in the second half of the summer season is the flowering vinca. I made a brief comment a couple of weeks ago about replacing petunias with flowering vincas

Portrait of farmers market produce
July 9, 2021 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farmers Markets

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State University’s Extension Service is working to enhance direct sales, farmers markets, and local food development in northeast Mississippi as part of a new project “From Gravel Roads to City Streets” funded by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

July 8, 2021 - Filed Under: AIM for CHangE

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Only eight teams were accepted into the Society of Public Health Education Writing for Publication Workshop this summer, and one of them is from Mississippi State University.

Katharine Halfacre and Masey Smith, Extension specialists in the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, were accepted into the competitive program for their involvement with the MSU Extension program AIM for CHangE.

July 7, 2021 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Safety Programs, 4-H SAFETY

Qualifying senior 4-H members will compete in the Mississippi 4-H S.A.F.E.T.Y. State Invitational July 16 and 17 at the Jimmy Bryan 4-H Youth Complex in West Point and at the Starkville Gun Club.

A round, black plastic head faces a plant.
July 2, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When summer temperatures soar, remember that irrigation is required for optimum plant growth and proper maintenance of Mississippi gardens and landscapes.

A photo of a female Asian horntail wasp.
June 30, 2021 - Filed Under: Insects, Insect Identification, Insects-Home Lawns, Insects-Pests

Mississippi is home to several flying insects that can be mistaken for the invasive Asian giant hornet discovered in Washington in 2020. Blake Layton, Mississippi State University Extension Service entomologist, said this insect, also called a “murder hornet,” has not been confirmed outside the Northwest. However, Layton said he has been contacted by people who think they have seen these hornets in Mississippi and Alabama in the last few weeks.

A large, yellow machine lifts downed trees to load onto a log truck.
June 29, 2021 - Filed Under: Timber Prices, Timber Harvest

Although construction costs are through the roof timber prices have not kept pace, and Mississippi forest landowners are waiting for improved markets. Shaun Tanger, a forestry economics specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the recent increase in construction costs is a demand-side phenomena.

Dozens of yellow and orange blooms form a solid blanket.
June 28, 2021 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

We’re coming up on our Independence Day holiday, which marks a change in our gardens and landscapes. It’s not going to be a change in temperatures because we have to wait until September or October to enjoy cooler weather.The change I’m referring to is the beginning of second summer around the Fourth of July holiday.

Water stands in a corn field
June 24, 2021 - Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Soybeans, Disaster Response

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- MSU Extension agents will be assessing agricultural damage from early-June flooding until well into July, but preliminary estimates indicate losses could break records.

The 2019 Yazoo Backwater Area flood caused $617 million in crop damage alone. It looks like the more recent flood will exceed those losses.

Heavy rainfall, primarily north of U.S. Highway 82, throughout the second week of June waterlogged crops during critical growth stages. Flooding caused complete or partial losses in many fields.

A tractor parked outside of a shed at night.
June 24, 2021 - Filed Under: The PROMISE Initiative
By Erica Hensley
For the MSU Extension Service

Colby Hardin managed his depression since he was diagnosed at 18. With medication, he kept it under control throughout college, while working at Mississippi State University's dairy farm.

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