Crop Report from 2022
High input costs and low milk prices have made it hard to be a dairy farmer anywhere in the U.S., but Mississippi producers have it harder than most. Amanda Stone, dairy specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the number of dairy farms in the state continues to dwindle.
Mississippi’s anticipated soybean acreage -- 2.35 million acres -- is higher than in recent years, and it may grow even larger by the end of planting season. Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Mississippi growers have already exceeded the 2.22 million planted in 2021. The anticipated soybean acreage this year will be the largest planted since 1988.
Catfish producers in Mississippi are receiving good prices for their products, but their continued profitability faces challenges from high heat and high costs for feed and fuel. Mississippi has 34,100 acres of catfish ponds found mostly in the Delta, with some scattered in Noxubee, Lowndes and Chickasaw counties in east Mississippi.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The condition of Mississippi’s soybean crop in early August literally depends on where you stand.
“We have some really good-looking irrigated soybeans that were planted in the optimum planting window and have made it to this point of the season with very few issues, other than extreme heat,” said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We even have some nonirrigated soybeans that could fall into that same description after catching several timely rains.
Most cotton in Mississippi got off to an excellent start in May, received the heat needed in June and July, and now is ready for sunny skies so growers can harvest a potentially above-average crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 56% of the crop is in good or excellent shape, with another 38% estimated at fair. As of Aug. 28, bolls were opening on an estimated 25% of the crop.
The state’s corn crop suffered through a very hot and dry summer after a later-than-usual planting season, so yields will be lower this year -- but not much lower overall. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the crop was 71% harvested as of Sept. 11. Frequent rains in late August and early September slowed harvest considerably, but growers have been making tremendous progress when sunny weather allows.
“Snow” appearing on the sides of highways and bare ground visible for miles is a sure indication that row crop harvest in Mississippi is well underway. As of early October, the majority of the 2022 crop was already harvested, although much work remains for certain crops.
Mississippi pecan producers faced a particularly challenging year with drought and then rain at the wrong time, but irrigated orchards are making a good crop.
Eric Stafne, fruit and nut crop specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the dry summer did one very good thing: It helped control pecan scab, a disease that is often a problem for the state’s pecan trees.