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North Mississippi Research and Extension Center - Annual Report

Publication Number: M2401
View as PDF: M2401.pdf

The North Mississippi Research and Extension Center (NMREC) conducts research and shares knowledge that enables Mississippians to implement solutions to everyday challenges. This annual report highlights some of the many research projects and Extension programs conducted by faculty, agents, and staff in 2020. Research sponsors, stakeholders, and volunteers made valuable contributions and are appreciated for their continued input and support.

As part of the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine, NMREC supports the missions of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES) and the MSU Extension Service. NRMEC works to improve the lives of citizens by responding to their needs: collaborating to conduct and share innovative agricultural research; offering practical education for individuals, families, and young people; and serving communities and businesses. As one of four Research and Extension Centers strategically located in the state, NMREC expands upon efforts conducted by the main MSU campus, facilitates research in different soil types and climates, and provides local education and technical assistance to Mississippians.

Researchers, specialists, and agents based in North Mississippi conduct programs in agronomy, horticulture, animal science, and forestry. NMREC includes four MAFES research locations:

  • Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station (Verona)
    • Agronomy Unit
    • Horticulture Research and Education Unit
  • Prairie Research Unit (Prairie)
  • Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station (Pontotoc)
  • North Mississippi Branch Experiment Station (Holly Springs)

NMREC also serves as the regional headquarters for the Northeast Extension Region. The 22 counties in this region are: Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Lowndes, Noxubee, Marshall, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Webster, Winston, and Yalobusha. Extension agents and educators provide research-based educational programming in agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, and economic and community resource development. In support of 4-H youth development, NMREC hosts the annual Northeast District Livestock and Horse Shows.

Please visit http://msuext.ms/ovdc5 to contact NMREC or any of its research locations or Extension offices.

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Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station

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Prairie Research Unit

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Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station

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North Mississippi Branch Experiment Station

CONTENTS

Agronomy

A Step Toward the Future: Precision Agriculture at the Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station

Corn Seeding Rate Evaluation in North Mississippi

Effects of Cropping System on Iron Deficiency Chlorosis in Soybeans

Sustainable Dryland Soybean Systems

Sweet Potato Response to Off-Target Movement of Dicamba

Sweet Potato Tolerance to Glufosinate: Pre-transplant Burndown and Post-directed Applications of Rely

Beef Cattle

Validation of a Self-Contained Portable Feeder to Optimize Nutritional Management of Grazing Cattle

Extension

Magnolia Botanical Gardens

Mississippi Master Gardener Volunteer Program

North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Forestry Extension Update

Northeast Region Extension Agents Team Up to Offer More Online Programs in 2020

Horticulture

2019 Summer Tomato Variety Trial

Efficacy of Fungicide Applications and Powdery Mildew Resistance in Three Pumpkin Cultivars

Pepper Variety Trial

Pumpkin Variety Trial

Agronomy

View of technology inside a tractor.

A Step toward the Future: Precision Agriculture at the Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station

Justin McCoy, Andy Taylor, and Mark Harrison

Precision agriculture technologies provide Mississippi row crop producers with new and evolving tools for on-farm management solutions. These technologies can be used to identify and measure variability within and across fields quickly and accurately. Inputs such as seed, fertilizer, and pesticides can be applied more efficiently, decreasing cost and variability within Mississippi producers’ fields. As agricultural technologies continually evolve and capabilities increase, producers’ need for up-to-date knowledge on these topics comes to the forefront. The agronomy unit at the Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station is committed to determining the agronomic and economic values of evolving technologies by providing new information specific to Mississippi practices and soils.

In 2020, the agronomy unit invested in expanding the precision agriculture capabilities at the experiment station by installing YieldSense on harvest equipment. This technology allows spatially accurate yield information to be collected across the row crop operation annually. YieldSense uses a patented flow sensor to measure grain yield accurately, allowing for real-time spatial analysis. This technology can produce precise row-to-row yield comparisons in the field.

In the future, this data will allow long-term and large-scale comparisons of hybrids, varieties, row spacings, planting dates, soil textures, and countless other variables that may affect crop yield and growth. Eventually, we plan to expand our precision agriculture capabilities with equipment for precision planting and fertilizing. Giving Mississippi producers access to advanced information regarding precision agriculture practices is a priority for the agronomy unit.

Agronomy

Rows of corn in a field.

Corn Seeding Rate Evaluation in North Mississippi

Justin McCoy, Dennis Reginelli, Mark Harrison, and Andy Taylor

In general, producers follow recommendations for corn and soybean planting densities that were established 10 or more years ago. However, it has been suggested that producers should re-evaluate crop response to planting density often, since optimum densities often differ among hybrids. As new hybrids are brought to market, it is beneficial to understand how corn seeding rate may affect corn hybrid performance in North Mississippi.

Seed cost relative to yield potential is one example of how producers may strive to increase yields and profitability. Corn hybrids may respond differently to many factors, including rainfall, soil type, row spacing, and seeding rate. Producers must consider all these factors when they select hybrids for their fields.

Researchers at the Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Verona conducted experiments in 2019 and 2020 to evaluate corn seeding rate and corn hybrid effect on corn grain yield. Each year, five top-performing hybrids were selected and planted at three seeding rates, ranging from 28,000 to 36,000 seeds per acre. Corn was planted on raised 38-inch beds each spring, and MSU-recommended agronomic practices were followed. A small-plot combine was used to harvest each plot at maturity and obtain grain yields.

Both corn hybrid and seeding rate influenced corn grain yield. In 2019, corn grain yield increased as seeding rate increased, with the greatest grain yield (213 bushels per acre) achieved with 34,000 seeds per acre. In 2020, averaged across corn hybrids, corn seeded at 36,000 seeds per acre produced corn grain yield greater than 28,000 and 32,000 seeds per acre. Corn hybrid selection pooled across seeding rates also influenced grain yield with the difference between the greatest and lowest yielding hybrids at 28 bushels per acre in 2019 and 21 bushels per acre in 2020. Research results suggest that choosing the correct corn hybrid and seeding rate can have a significant impact on corn grain yield. In both 2019 and 2020, seeding rates of 32,000 to 36,000 seeds per acre produced the greatest grain yield. Although increasing corn seeding rates may increase grain yield in some situations, the seed cost-to-yield ratio is also important when choosing a corn hybrid and seeding rate.

Agronomy

Rows of soybean plants in a field.

Effects of Cropping System on Iron Deficiency Chlorosis in Soybeans

Mary Love Tagert, Katelin Waldrep, Justin McCoy, Mark Harrison, and Andy Taylor

Mississippi has two Blackland Prairie regions that comprise more than 2 million acres of farmland. The largest of the two areas extends from Booneville to Macon and is referred to as the Northeast Prairie or Black Belt. This region has a chalk subsoil that is rich in calcium carbonate, which results in areas with high soil pH. A sizeable portion of acres in these zones is planted in soybeans each year and experiences iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC).

This study evaluates the effects of seven selected cropping systems on six different soybean varieties to determine the best practices for managing IDC in soybeans and improving yields. The split-plot study was conducted in 2019 and 2020 at the same location at the Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station. The cropping system was the main plot, and variety was the split plot. Treatments were replicated four times.

Soybean varieties were planted on 38-inch raised beds on a Catalpa silty clay loam. Plots were planted on April 30, 2019, and May 13, 2020. Measurements for soil moisture, leaf area index, chlorophyll, and plant height were taken weekly throughout the growing season in 2020, and visual ratings for IDC symptomology were recorded weekly both years unless weather prohibited field work. Plots were harvested on October 14, 2019, and October 20, 2020.

During both years of the study, Terral 4927x was the highest yielding variety. Terral 4827x also had the best average visual IDC rating for both years, compared to the other five varieties. The cropping system that had soybeans planted into corn stubble at 160,000 plants per acre had significantly higher yields than the other cropping systems in both years of the study. The study is ongoing and will average data over all years.

Agronomy

Close up path between rows of soybeans in a field.

Sustainable Dryland Soybean Systems

Mark Shankle, Lorin Harvey, Trevor Garrett, Callie Morris, and Mark Hall

Nearly 60 percent of all soybeans grown in Mississippi are produced in a dryland environment. Inconsistent yields are a common problem for dryland soybean production because of irregular rainfall events during the growing season. Research has suggested that cover crops might help alleviate some of the issues during the growing season through improved water infiltration, soil moisture retention, nutrient availability, and enhanced soil organic matter. Currently, less than 2 percent of Mississippi cropland uses cover crops. Therefore, the goals of this project were to evaluate various cover crops in conjunction with different planting dates and nutrient sources to determine the optimal combination for integrating cover crops into a cropping system.

From 2018 to 2020, field experiments were conducted at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station. Treatments consisted of four different cover crops: cereal rye, hairy vetch, wheat, and cereal rye plus mustard. Two different soybean planting dates, early and late, were evaluated. Poultry litter and conventional fertilizer were the two different fertilizer treatments used. There was also an untreated group.

The effects of planting early or late on soybean yield were variable during the years of the study because of fluctuations in rainfall. Of the cover crops evaluated, cereal rye plus mustard, wheat, and cereal rye all produced significantly more biomass than hairy vetch and subsequently resulted in soybean yields of at least 50 bushels per acre, which was higher than plots planted with hairy vetch. This finding suggests that planting a nitrogen-fixing cover crop, such as hairy vetch, is not as important as using a cover crop that produces higher volumes of biomass. Lastly, using a supplemental source of nutrients, whether conventional fertilizer or poultry litter, in combination with cover crops, resulted in greater soybean yields than those plots without any additional fertilizer sources.

Agronomy

Close up of sweet potato plant leaves.

Sweet Potato Response to Off-Target Movement of Dicamba

Mark Shankle, Trevor Garrett, Callie Morris, Lorin Harvey, and Mark Hall

In 2019, United States producers harvested 146,700 acres of sweet potatoes worth almost $600 million. However, off-target movement of dicamba herbicide to sensitive crops, like sweet potatoes, has been reported since the Environmental Protection Agency approved over-the-top application of dicamba on cotton and soybeans. Growing sweet potatoes close to cotton and soybeans creates the potential for off-target movement of herbicides that can result in catastrophic yield loss.

From 2018 to 2020, field experiments were conducted to evaluate how off-target movement of dicamba impacts the plant injury status and yield response of sweet potatoes. These experiments attempted to identify the impacts of dicamba application time, as well as several reduced rates to simulate off-target movement and/or sprayer tank contamination.

Treatments consisted of five rates of dicamba, including XtendiMax at 22 ounces per acre (1x rate), 2.75 ounces per acre(1/8x rate), 1.375 ounces per acre (1/16x rate), 0.34 ounces per acre (1/64x rate), and 0.043 ounces per acre (1/512x rate), as well as an untreated check. All treatments were applied post-planting at 1, 3, 5, and 7 weeks after planting and were evaluated 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks after application.

Plant injury was observed with all rates of dicamba and at all application times. However, overall sweet potato yield with dicamba at 1/64x and 1/512x rates were not different from the untreated check, whereas yields with higher rates of 1/8x and 1/16x were less than with the untreated check. Generally, the storage root yield with treatments applied at 1 and 3 weeks after planting was the highest, suggesting that sweet potato plants encountering off-target movement of dicamba during early stages of growth may have time to recover and still achieve reasonable yields. This would depend on the dicamba concentration and the amount intercepted by the sweet potato plant.

Based on the current study, producers should take care to avoid sweet potato exposure to dicamba during the growing season. Additionally, they should give special consideration to sweet potato production fields close to other genetically tolerant dicamba crops because certain environmental conditions combined with proximity can result in catastrophic yield loss events. Producers must consider all management options to apply herbicides properly and minimize off-target movement of dicamba to sensitive crops.

Agronomy

Close up of pile of sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Tolerance to Glufosinate:
Pre-transplant Burndown and Post-directed Applications of Rely

Mark Shankle, Callie Morris, Trevor Garrett, Lorin Harvey, and Mark Hall

Field research was conducted to determine the effects of Rely herbicide on sweet potato injury and yield, with the active ingredient glufosinate, as a burndown or post-directed application.

Beauregard B-14 sweet potato slips were transplanted on June 15, 2017, as part of Trial 1, and June 27, 2017, as part of Trial 2. Treatments included a broadcast application of Rely to preformed beds at 32 and 64 ounces per acre. These treatments were applied 7 to 14 days before planting, with rainfall or overhead irrigation of at least 0.25 inches occurring 48 hours after application. Rely was also post-applied at 32 ounces per acre, followed by another 32 ounces per acre and 64 ounces per acre, followed by 64 ounces per acre applied with a hooded, shielded sprayer. Post-application treatments were applied 10 to 14 days apart, with the second application occurring before plants began to spread into the row middles. Also, there was an untreated/weed-free check included.

Researchers gave visual ratings for crop tolerance and injury. Sweet potatoes were harvested on October 20, 2017, and October 26, 2017, for Trials 1 and 2, respectively. Sweet potatoes were graded to determine U.S. No. 1, Canner, Cull, and Jumbo. Total marketable yield was recorded as the sum of U.S. No. 1, Canner, and Jumbo grade yields.

Trial 1

No injury was visible to sweet potato slips with pre-transplant treatments. However, photo images of plots side-by-side 31 days after planting suggest slower vegetative production with pre-transplant treatments. These results indicate lower plant vigor after transplanting with pre-treatments, compared to the weed-free check that did not receive a Rely treatment.

At 15 days after the first post-treatment of Rely to row middles, injury was 14 and 40 percent with 32 and 64 ounces per acre, respectively. At 25 and 15 days after two post-applied treatments, injury with 32 ounces per acre declined to 9 percent, but remained at 40 percent with 64 ounces per acre. At 38 and 28 days after the two post-applied treatments, injury was 8 and 35 percent at 32 and 64 ounces per acre, respectively.

At harvest, No. 1 yield from the weed-free plot was higher than the field treated with Rely applied 64 ounces per acre, followed by 64 ounces per acre. In addition, the weed-free yield was higher but not statistically different when compared to all other treatments. There was no difference in total marketable yield between treatments. No. 1 yield, as a percent of total marketable, was less than weed-free with Rely at 64 ounces per acre, followed by 64 ounces per acre. In addition, Jumbo yield with Rely at 64 ounces per acre, followed by 64 ounces per acre, compared to other treatments, was numerically higher but not statistically different than the weed-free.

Trial 2

As in Trial 1, there was no injury to sweet potato slips with pre-transplant treatments, and there were no visual differences in the percentage of ground covered with sweet potato vines later in the season. However, overall plant growth was less vigorous in Trial 2, probably due to environmental conditions because it was established later than Trial 1.

At 15 days after the first treatments, injury was 10 and 37 percent with 32 ounces per acre and 64 ounces per acre, respectively, of Rely under hood to row middle. At 25 and 15 days after two post-applied treatments, injury was 12 and 21 percent with 32 ounces per acre and 64 ounces per acre of Rely, respectively. At 42 days after the first post-treatment and 29 days after the second post-treatment, injury declined to 8 and 15 percent with 32 and 64 ounces per acre of Rely, respectively. No. 1 and total marketable yields were highest with the weed-free check, but not statistically different than other treatments.

This research suggests that Rely used as a pre-transplant burndown applied 14 days before planting at 32 ounces per acre would be commercially acceptable, but it should not be considered as a replacement for other pre-transplant herbicides that offer residual weed control. However, Rely would provide an alternative for resistant weeds as a pre-transplant and post under hood to row middle application, but only at the 32 ounces per acre rate.

Beef Cattle

Portable feeder with two solar panels.

Validation of a Self-Contained Portable Feeder to Optimize Nutritional Management of Grazing Cattle

Kelsey Harvey, Libby Durst, and Kalisha Yankey

Mississippi beef production contributes significantly to the state’s agricultural economy, ranking sixth in the state. The industry boasts more than 900,000 beef cows and calves, including over 400,000 head of stocker cattle. The profitability of these operations depends on adequate nutritional management of the cow herd during each stage of production to support growth, pregnancy, and lactation. However, many extensive beef cattle production systems depend on forage to provide a vast majority of nutrients, which can be variable in quality and may not be nutritionally complete. To maintain maximum long-term productivity, cow-calf producers must design supplementation programs according to animal stage and level of production, as well as forage quality and quantity.

Using technology in supplementation programs can facilitate unprecedented data collection and management of grazing cattle. Several advances in this field have improved production efficiency, including the use of electronic identification systems traditionally used to manage animals in feedlot settings. Recently, development of self-contained portable units (SmartFeed Pro; C-Lock Inc., Rapid City, SD) has allowed researchers to characterize individual supplement intake of grazing cattle in large groups. This system enables researchers to detail the number of times an animal visits the feeder, the length of time it spends at the feeder, and the amount of feed it consumes. This provides valuable information about supplement intake and animal performance.

Several of these systems are being used across the United States, but the system has not been formally validated. Therefore, this research aims to validate the feeding frequency, duration, and consumption data generated by the SmartFeed Pro system using direct comparisons between transponders located within the feeder against physical observations, to determine if the device is a valuable tool for documenting feeding patterns of grazing cattle. Furthermore, researchers anticipate providing preliminary information regarding factors that may introduce errors into data collection and analysis, thereby aiding in the design of experiments and selection of technology.

Extension

Group of people sitting under a pavilion watching a woman speak next to a table with stacks of paper.

Educational program at the Magnolia Botanical Gardens.

Magnolia Botanical Gardens

Jeff Wilson and Susan Worthey

More Americans are gardening and spending more money on gardens. These gardeners are seeking information and programming from the MSU Extension Service, so providing them with a location to learn which plant materials are best suited for their growing regions is a must.

The Magnolia Botanical Gardens serves as a demonstration and educational resource for green industry professionals and consumers. Plant evaluations and educational programs help increase success for homeowners and support horticultural businesses statewide. Educational outreach programming at the gardens and through social media teaches sustainable practices and technologies that can be implemented in home landscapes and gardens.

In 2017, a Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce specialty crop block grant funded the revitalization of the Magnolia Botanical Gardens. The grant objectives included renewing the existing Magnolia Botanical Gardens by:

  • incorporating diverse specialty crops and focusing on sustainable practices that could be implemented in home landscapes/gardens;
  • increasing gardeners’ knowledge by providing programs in sustainable practices for the successful installation and maintenance of plants using Magnolia Botanical Gardens as an outdoor classroom; and
  • increasing use and consumption of specialty crops by homeowners.

More than 15 educational events were held over three years, reaching more than 400 participants who learned about sustainable landscape practices. Direct programs were valued at more than $7,000.

Extension

A group of men and women sitting in folding chairs watching a slideshow presentation.

Mississippi Master Gardener Volunteer Program

Jeff Wilson

In 1992, the Mississippi Master Gardener Volunteer Program certified its first participants. Now, 29 years later, it has grown to be a successful program with more than 1,500 active Master Gardeners covering 52 Mississippi counties. The volunteer program is a major contributor to MSU Extension’s ability to meet its ever-growing consumer horticulture needs. Master Gardeners help Extension agents and statewide specialists provide research-based educational programs and information to improve the economic, social, and cultural well-being of all Mississippians.

In 2020, 126 participants attended the initial Master Gardener training in Mississippi. Overall, 8,747 volunteers from 52 counties entered 47,615 volunteer hours into the reporting system. Master Gardeners volunteered the equivalent time of 23 full-time employees. Their volunteer service provided $1.2 million to Mississippi.

Master Gardeners are making a difference in the lives of Mississippians in local communities and throughout the state. They provide horticultural education to teach the public how to garden efficiently and save money. They promote buying plants and supplies from Mississippi producers to support the green industry statewide. Master Gardeners use horticulture to encourage gardeners to become more active and develop healthier lifestyles. Mississippi Master Gardeners are making a difference for Extension and all Mississippians.

Extension

Trees in a stand.

North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Forestry Extension Update

John Kushla

In 2020, the forestry and wildlife committee at the NMREC Producer Advisory Council prioritized six major needs for the Northeast Region:

  • timber market development in North Mississippi
  • timber product development
  • filling MSU forestry positions
  • help managing Conservation Reserve Program contracts
  • hardwood plantation management
  • use of drones in forestry

The Extension forestry group worked collaboratively to address these priorities throughout the year. The group produced print and online newsletters, as well as publications on timely topics. These and other Extension forestry publications are online at http://extension.msstate.edu/publications/forestry. Additionally, the group provided urban forestry training to allow Extension agents to address client requests for information about joining the International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists.

The Extension forestry group increased virtual programming in 2020 and was represented at the Imagine the Possibilities virtual career expo with a video posted online at http://itpcareerexpo.com/videos. Extension forestry also conducted a forestry judging contest for the virtual 4-H Club Congress, along with an in-person 4-H volunteer training program on forestry judging. Several online forestry workshops and field days were open to participants across Northeast Mississippi.

Extension

A woman and a young girl and boy stand in front of a pool.

Winston County MSU Extension Agent Tracy Gregory films a water safety video for Extension’s Facebook series, Back to Basics: Life Skills 101.

Northeast Region Extension Agents Team Up to Offer More Online Programs

Jane Parish and Linda Mitchell

In 2020, Extension agents and specialists throughout the 22-county region of Northeast Mississippi adapted quickly to develop and deliver timely educational programs online. The region’s team of family and consumer science Extension agents led one highlight of these efforts.

The team produced an award-winning series of 25 videos called Back to Basics: Life Skills 101. Intended to reach young adults just starting out living on their own, videos offered tips about a range of family and consumer science topics:

  • cooking, including grilling and recipe vocabulary
  • financial management, such as budgeting and saving
  • clothing maintenance, like removing stains and ironing

Within the first few months of the program, these educational videos posted on county MSU Extension Facebook pages reached more than 38,000 people in more than 3,100 social media engagements.

Following the launch of the Back to Basics: Life Skills 101 video series, the team developed a second series of videos. It reached more than 27,000 people and garnered more than 2,400 engagements. The videos reached adults of all ages and across counties and states well beyond those represented by the Extension agents producing the videos.

One viewer commented, “I enjoyed the videos. My son is a senior and I shared all the basic cleaning skills to him and all 2020 seniors. This is a great tool to help them survive being on their own. Thanks for sharing the information.”

Videos are posted on the Extension YouTube channel under the Extension Where You Are: Videos from Extension Agents playlist at youtube.com/user/MissStateExtension/playlists. For 2021, a weekly series on agriculture and natural resources topics called Off Road with Extension is on social media, and a weekly Family and Consumer Sciences Minute video series is being produced.

Horticulture

Tomatoes plants in a high tunnel.

2019 Summer Tomato Variety Trial

T. Casey Barickman, Thomas Horgan, and Skyler Brazel

Researchers grew the determinate tomato cultivars from Bejo, Harris Moran/HS, Seminis, and Sakata in spring 2019 in North Mississippi. Plants were started in the greenhouse from seed on March 15 and transplanted to raised beds on April 17.

Using a randomized complete block with four replications, each replication consisted of 12 plants, with the middle eight being harvested for data. Plants were spaced 2 feet apart in rows with 7-foot centers in raised beds covered with plastic and irrigation drip tape. All plots were fertilized according to MSU Soil Testing Laboratory soil test recommendations. Total fertilizer for the season was 120-100-200 pounds per acre of N-P-K, with half the required nitrogen applied pre-plant using ammonium nitrate, and the remaining nitrogen applied weekly through the drip tape using calcium nitrate once small fruit were formed.

Researchers drove 5-foot steel stakes of rebar into the row between every two plants and used the Florida weave trellising technique. Harvest began June 20 and occurred every 4 to 5 days until the last harvest on July 18, with a total of five harvests. Fruits, graded into extra-large, large, and medium sizes, were measured and compared using USDA tomato grading standards. Culls (misshapen, radial cracking, small, or insect damaged) were counted and weighed separately from marketable fruits. Total yields were based on 3,100 plants per acre, determined by row and inner plant spacing mentioned above.

Insecticides, including Mustang Maxx (zeta-cypermethrin), Neemix 4.5 (azadirachtin), and Entrust (spinosad), were mixed with fungicides, such as Bravo WS (chlorothalonil), Quadris (azoxystrobin), or Caprio (pyraclostrobin). They were sprayed for insect and disease control every 7 to 10 days with a motorized backpack mist sprayer. Researchers alternated applications of pesticides every one or two sprayings to prevent possible disease resistance. Caprio was applied in late June to treat white mold (stem rot; Sclerotinia sclerotiorum).

Tomato variety trial, summer 2019, NMREC.

Variety

Source

Average marketable yield (lb/acre)

   

Medium

Large

Extra Large

Total

Boxes
(25 lb)

Primo

Harris Moran/HS

408

a

2023

ab

14845

ab

17277

a

691

Mt. Gem

Bejo

292

abc

1920

ab

14702

ab

16914

ab

676

Red Deuce

Harris Moran/HS

83

c

836

cde

15479

a

16398

abc

655

Emmylou

Bejo

87

c

1306

bcde

14338

ab

15732

abcd

629

SV763d1TD

Seminis

306

abc

2087

ab

11480

cde

13874

bcde

554

Red Snapper

Sakata

63

c

491

e

13138

abc

13692

cde

547

Camaro

Sakata

209

abc

856

cde

12422

bcd

13486

cde

539

XTM2255

Sakata

131

bc

656

de

12417

bcd

13216

de

528

Myrtle

Seminis

272

abc

1601

abc

11243

cde

13117

de

524

Resolute

Bejo

360

ab

2486

a

9212

e

12058

e

482

Scarlet Red

Harris Moran/HS

168

abc

1507

bcd

9652

e

11327

e

453

SVTD0466 (Saybrook)

Seminis

87

c

758

cde

10183

de

11028

e

441

Means are to be compared within columns; means not followed by the same letter are significantly different at P ≤ 0.05.

USDA Tomato Grading Size (diameter inches): Medium = 2 8/32–2 17/32 in; Large = 2 16/32–2 25/32 in; Extra Large = 2 24/32 in and above.

NOTE: Small grading size (below 2 8/32 in) is considered a cull and may be used for value-added products such as sauces, salsas, and juice.

Tomato variety trial, summer 2019, NMREC.

Trial Number

Company

Variety

Days

Shape

Color

Disease Resistance

Attributes

1

Bejo

Emmylou F1

75

Round

Red

TSWV; TYLCV; Fol:2,3

Color; firmness

2

Bejo

Mt. Gem

74

Round

Red

TSWV; ToMV; Fol:2,3; Pi

Vigor; high yield

3

Bejo

Resolute

74

Round

Red

 

Vigor; flavor; firmness

4

Harris Moran/HS

Primo Red

68

Round

Red

Vd:1, Fol:1,2: ToMV, TSWV

Early; color; high feeder

5

Harris Moran/HS

Red Deuce

72

Round

Red

Vd:1, Fol:1,2: ToMV, Aa

High yield; good quality

6

Harris Moran/HS

Scarlet Red

73

Round

Red

Vd:1: Fol:1,3: Aa; Sbl

High yield; good quality; flavor

7

Seminis

Myrtle

80

Round

Red

TSWV; Aa; Fol:1-3; Sbl; Vd:1; Ma

Quality; disease resistant

8

Seminis

SV7631TD

85

Round

Red

Aa; Fol:1-3; Vd:1; Sbl; Ma; TSWV

Color; disease resistant

9

Seminis

Saybrook

85

Round

Red

TSWV; Aa; Fol:0-2; Sbl; Vd:0; Ma

Vigor; disease resistant; good canopy cover

10

Sakata

Red Snapper

75

Round

Red

Aa; Fol:1-2; Vd:1; Sbl; TSWV; TYLCV

Color; firmness; good shelf-life

11

Sakata

Camaro

75

Round

Red

Aa; Fol:1-3; Vd:1; Sbl; TYLCV

Heat tolerant; high yield; good canopy cover

12

Sakata

STM 2256

70

Round

Red

Aa; Fol:1-2; Vd:1; Sbl; TSWV; TYLCV

High yield; flavor; good shelf-life; firm

Disease resistance key: Verticillium = Vd; Fusarium = Fol; Tomato mosaic virus = ToMV; Tomato spotted wilt virus = TSWV; Alternaria stem canker = Aa; Gray leaf spot = Sbl; Southern root-knot nematode = Ma; Tomato yellow leaf curl virus = TYLCV

Horticulture

Two large orange pumpkins.

Efficacy of Fungicide Applications and Powdery Mildew Resistance in Three Pumpkin Cultivars

T. Casey Barickman, Thomas Horgan, and Jeff Wilson

Powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii) is a common and major disease of pumpkins (Cucumis pepo) that affects seedlings and mature plants. Powdery mildew primarily grows on the surface of the leaves, so contact fungicides can be effective in controlling the disease.

Biofungicides work as contact fungicides and can be an effective treatment for powdery mildew control. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of biofungicide treatments: polyoxin D zinc salt, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, and copper octanoate, and compare them to a conventional fungicide spray program of chlorothalonil and azoxystrobin.

To study the combination of biofungicides and conventional fungicides, three pumpkin cultivars were chosen: ‘Gold Medal’ with no powdery mildew resistance, ‘Early Giant’ with intermediate powdery mildew resistance, and ‘Mustang’ with high powdery mildew resistance. The plots were arranged in a split-plot design with four replications.

Results indicate that chlorothalonil- and azoxystrobin-treated plants had less disease, more fruit, and greater fruit yield in all pumpkin cultivars, as compared to the plants treated with biofungicides. In addition, the pumpkin cultivar ‘Mustang’ was the healthiest and had the greatest yields when compared to ‘Early Giant’ and ‘Gold Medal’. The biofungicides in the current study demonstrated minor efficacy.

Mean disease severity on leaf surfaces of pumpkin leaf tissue treated once a week for 8 weeks.

Cultivarb

2014 PM severity (AUDPC)a

2015 PM severity (AUDPC)a

Early Giant

1001 a

1146 b

Gold Medal

926 a

1210 a

Mustang

542 b

812 c

 

 

Fungicide Treatmentb,c

2014 PM severity (AUDPC)a

2015 PM severity (AUDPC)a

Control

850 b

1109 a

Oso

925 a

1097 a

Double Nickle/Cueva

772 c

1057 a

Bravo/Quadris

744 c

960 b

a PM severity: Overall severity of powdery mildew as determined by the area under disease progress curves (AUDPCs) calculated from severity rating taken Aug. 18, Aug. 26, Sept. 10, and Sept. 26 in year 1, and Aug. 20, Sept. 1, Sept. 10, and Sept. 17 in year 2.

b Means with the same letter for each separate year do not differ significantly at P ≤ 0.05, according to Fisher’s protected least significant difference test.

c Control = water; Oso = polyoxin D zinc salt; Double nickel/Cueva = Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and copper octanoate, respectively; Bravo/Quadris = chlorothalonil and azoxystrobin, respectively.

Main effects for mean yield, number of fruits, and average fruit weight for three pumpkin cultivars grown under four fungicide treatments in year 1 and year 2.

Year 1

Fungicide Treatmentc

Yield (cwt/acre)a,d

Number (no/acre)a,d

Avg fruit wt (lb)b,d

Control

293 b

2096 b

14.02 a

Oso

286 b

1904 b

15.01 a

Double Nickle/Cueva

286 b

2400 ab

11.92 b

Bravo/Quadris

423 a

2976 a

14.22 a

 

 

Cultivar

Yield (cwt/acre)a,d

Number (no/acre)a,d

Avg fruit wt (lb)b,d

Early Giant

272 b

1904 b

14.29 a

Mustang

456 a

3408 a

13.40 a

Gold Medal

241 b

1760 b

13.69 a

 

Year 2

 

Fungicide Treatmentc

Yield (cwt/acre)a,d

Number (no/acre)a,d

Avg fruit wt (lb)b,d

Control

337 b

2400 b

14.15 b

Oso

454 a

3024 ab

15.01 b

Double Nickle/Cueva

529 a

3152 a

16.78 a

Bravo/Quadris

487 a

2800 ab

17.39 a

 

 

Cultivar

Yield (cwt/acre)d

Number (no/acre)d

Avg fruit wt (lb)d

Early Giant

280 b

2032 c

13.76 b

Mustang

545 a

3664 a

14.88 b

Gold Medal

533 a

2832 b

18.83 a

a 1 cwt/acre = 112.0851 kg/ha; 1 fruit/acre – 2.4711 fruit/ha.

b Marketable pumpkins; 1 lb = 0.4536 kg.

c 2014 and 2015 control = water; Oso = polyoxin D zinc salt; Double nickel/Cueva = Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and copper octanoate, respectively; Bravo/Quadris = chlorothalonil and azoxystrobin, respectively.

d Values of the same column for the same main effect (fungicide treatment or cultivar) followed by the same letter are not significantly different at P ≤ 0.05, according to Fisher’s protected least significant difference test.

Horticulture

Red and green bell peppers.

Pepper Variety Trial

T. Casey Barickman, Thomas Horgan, and Skyler Brazel

Researchers grew sweet pepper varieties for a 2-year study in North Mississippi. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications. Plants were started in the greenhouse from seed on July 3 and transplanted to raised beds on August 8. Rows were shaped 6 inches high and 30 inches across the top, with a press-pan-type bed shaper/mulch layer (Kennco Manufacturing) that laid white on black plastic mulch and drip tape as the beds were being formed.

Plants were double spaced down the row (10 inches apart), 1 foot apart in the row. Rows were on 7-foot centers. Each plot consisted of 30 plants (15 on each side of the raised beds). All plots were fertilized with 115 pounds of N-P-K per acre on August 2 using 17-17-17. Once small peppers formed, the remaining nutrients were applied through the drip tape at 5 to 10 pounds of nitrogen. Stakes were evenly spaced around the perimeter of each plot to prevent lodging.

The insecticides Mustang Maxx (zeta-cypermethrin), Neemix 4.5 (azadirachtin), and Entrust (spinosad) were mixed with the fungicides Bravo WS (chlorothalonil), Caprio (pyraclostrobin), and Procure (triflumizole). Then, plants were sprayed every 7 to 10 days with a motorized backpack mist sprayer for insect and disease control. Applications of pesticides were alternated every one or two sprayings to prevent possible disease resistance.

Harvest began September 26 and continued every 4 to 5 days until the last harvest on November 1 (second frost date) for a total of six harvests. Marketable peppers (large and turning color) were counted and weighed. Culls (misshapen, small, or insect damaged) were counted and weighed. Plant stand counts were made in each plot after each harvest. A few plants were diagnosed with southern stem blight and removed.

Pepper varieties grown in year 1.

Bell Type

Variety

Marketable/plant

Lb/plant

Lb/ac

Ton/ac

Box/aca

Alliance

4.49 de

1.43

18,526

9.26

639

Cardinal

4.8 e

1.03

13,433

6.72

463

RT Squash

6.21 abc

0.70

9,115

4.56

314

Traian

5.26 cd

1.28

16,605

8.30

573

Long Type

Variety

Marketable/plant

Lb/plant

Lb/ac

Ton/ac

Box/aca

Chef Vena Claska

7.67 ab

0.88

11,503

5.75

397

Daciana

5.30 cd

1.25

16,295

8.15

562

Kopella

7.46 ab

1.14

14,773

7.39

509

Napoca

7.49 a

1.44

18,724

9.36

646

Potasia

6.05 bc

1.11

14,447

7.22

498

a Boxes per acre indicate the number of 1 1/9-bushel boxes per acre at an average weight of 28–30 lb per box. Data assumes 13,000 plants per acre.

Pepper varieties grown in year 2.

Bell Type

Variety

Marketable/plant

Lb/plant

Lb/ac

Ton/ac

Box/aca

TN Cheese

3.69 e

0.60

7,814

3.91

269

Traian

6.72 bc

1.39

18,117

9.06

625

Carman

7.46 ab

1.10

14,245

7.12

491

Long Type

Variety

Marketable/plant

Lb/plant

Lb/ac

Ton/ac

Box/aca

Daciana

5.95 c

1.46

18,980

9.49

654

Napoca

7.78 a

1.54

20,022

10.01

690

Flamingo

5.04 d

1.26

16,361

8.18

564

a Boxes per acre indicate the number of 1 1/9-bushel boxes per acre at an average weight of 28–30 lb per box. Data assumes 13,000 plants per acre.

Horticulture

Several harvested orange pumpkins.

Pumpkin Variety Trial

Thomas Horgan and T. Casey Barickman

New developments in disease resistance and market demand have increased interest in growing pumpkins. Each year, numerous seed companies offer new varieties of pumpkins with differing disease resistance packages. This 2-year study evaluated the yield of 16 cultivars of pumpkins grown in North Mississippi.

The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications. Each replication consisted of 10 plants. Plants were spaced 2 feet apart in the row with 12-foot row centers. Before bed formation, fertilizer was broadcast according to soil test recommendations, with all the phosphorus and potassium and half the nitrogen applied pre-plant. The remaining 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre were applied by injecting, through the drip tape, a concentrated solution of calcium nitrate (5 pounds of actual nitrogen per week) when vines began to run.

Plants were direct seeded the first week of July, and harvest began in mid-September. The herbicide strategy (ethalfluralin and clomazone) was applied immediately after seeding. One of the major diseases that infects pumpkins is powdery mildew, an airborne fungus that can cause extensive early defoliation, slow growth, and decreased yields. Powdery mildew developed and caused leaf defoliation even though a fungicide (chlorothalonil, azoxystrobin, or copper hydroxide) was sprayed every 7 to 10 days. The varieties with powdery mildew resistance had overall good yields and had the best disease ratings.

‘Mustang’ was one of the top producers with the best disease rating both years and averaged 1.3 pumpkins per plant. ‘Early Giant’ was one of the biggest pumpkins both years but had a high disease rating and averaged one pumpkin per plant. ‘Corvette’ was one of the best mid-size varieties, had one of the best disease ratings, and averaged 1.5 pumpkins per plant. ‘Darling’ and ‘Early Abundance’ were two mid-sized to small pie pumpkins that produced the most number per plant and had the least average weights with moderate to good disease resistance. The two new varieties trialed in 2014, ‘Jack-O-Lantern’ and P1-7606 (an unnamed experimental variety), had high disease ratings and moderate yields.

Pumpkin variety name and yield data of the 16 pumpkin varieties grown in North Mississippi in a 2-year study.a

Large

 

 

Pumpkin Variety

Weight (lb) Year 1

Weight (lb) Year 2

Number (per plant) Year 1

Number (per plant) Year 2

Height (in) Year 1

Height (in) Year 2

Circumference (in) Year 1

Circumference (in) Year 2

Early Giant

20.7 a

17.3 a

1.0 def

0.9 cd

14.3 a

13.1 a

32.7 a

30.2 cd

First Harvest

19.2 b

---b

1.1 c-f

--- b

13.5 b

--- b

32.7 a

--- b

Mustang

17.5 c

---b

1.3 bcd

1.3 b

12.0 c

11.6 b

32.6 a

32.6

Gold Medal

17.0 c

14.7 b

0.8 f

0.9 cd

11.0 e

10.8 cd

33.1 a

30.8 cd

Early King

15.7 d

12.7 c

1.3 cde

1.3 b

11.5 d

10.6 de

33.1 a

29.8 d

Big Daddy

15.7 d

14.8 b

1.0 ef

0.7 d

11.4 d

11.0 c

31.6 b

31.1 bc

El Toro

14.1 e

14.5 b

1.0 def

0.9 cd

10.0 f

10.3 e

33.0 a

32.2 ab

Solid Gold

12.9 f

12.3 c

1.3 cde

1.0 c

9.3 g

9.2 f

30.8 b

30.8 cd

Earlipack

12.9 f

--- b

1.0 def

--- b

9.2 g

--- b

33.1 a

--- b

 

Mid-Size

 

Pumpkin Variety

Weight (lb) Year 1

Weight (lb) Year 2

Number (per plant) Year 1

Number (per plant) Year 2

Height (in) Year 1

Height (in) Year 2

Circumference (in) Year 1

Circumference (in) Year 2

Corvette

11.3 g

10.3 d

1.7 b

1.3 b

9.5 g

9.1 fg

28.4 c

27.3 e

Oktoberfest

10.9 g

9.3 d

1.3 cde

0.9 cd

9.3 g

8.7 g

28.7 c

26.8 e

Magical

10.1 g

9.5 d

1.4 bcd

1.1 bc

9.3 g

9.3 f

28.4 c

27.4 e

Jack-O-Lantern

---c

6.8 e

---c

1.0 c

---c

8.0 h

---c

23.0 f

P1-7606

---c

6.3 e

---c

0.9 cd

---c

7.6 i

---c

24.0 f

Darling

4.4 h

4.4 f

2.5 a

1.9 a

8.0 i

7.9 hi

18.5 e

18.0 g

Early Abundance

4.1 h

3.0 g

2.3 a

1.1 bc

5.9 j

5.4 j

20.7 d

18.3 g

a Means sharing the same letter, within a column, were not significantly different. Least significant difference (lsd) at P = 0.10.

b Seed not available in 2014.

c New variety in 2014.

Seed source, disease resistance, disease rating, and days to harvest of the 16 pumpkins grown in North America in a 2-year study.

Large

Pumpkin Variety

Seed Source

Disease resistancea

Disease rating (1-10)b

Catalog days to harvest

Actual days to harvest 2013

Actual days to harvest 2014

Early Giant

Abbott & Cobb

iPMR

6.3

95

72

79

First Harvest

Abbott & Cobb

iPMR

6.4

90

78

---

Mustang

Seigers

PMR

4.2

100

85

87

Gold Medal

Rupp

 

6.0

95

81

84

Early King

Abbott & Cobb

iPMR

6.4

90

80

72

Big Daddy

Seigers

PMR

5.8

115

80

86

El Toro

Seigers

iPMR

5.3

95

81

86

Solid Gold

Rupp

 

6.7

100

73

72

Earlipack

Seigers

iPMR

6.4

95

78

---

Mid-Size

Pumpkin Variety

Seed Source

Disease resistancea

Disease rating (1-10)b

Catalog days to harvest

Actual days to harvest 2013

Actual days to harvest 2014

Corvette

Seigers

PMR

4.8

110

83

86

Oktoberfest

Seigers

 

6.0

95

79

86

Magical

Abbott & Cobb

iPMR

6.5

88

74

72

Jack-O-Lantern

Seeds by Design

 

6.6

100

---

87

P1-7606

Abbott & Cobb

 

6.6

95

---

86

Darling

Abbott & Cobb

iPMR

5.5

90

76

76

Early Abundance

Rupp

iPMR

6.5

90

79

75

a PMR = Powdery mildew resistance; iPMR = intermediate PMR

b Disease rating scale (estimate of % diseased foliage): 1 = 10%, 2 = 20%, 3 = 30%, 5 = 50%, 10 = 100%

The information given here is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products, trade names, or suppliers are made with the understanding that no endorsement is implied and that no discrimination against other products or suppliers is intended.

By Justin McCoy, Assistant Professor, Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station; T. Casey Barickman, Associate Research Professor, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center; Skyler Brazel, Research Associate, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center; Libby Durst, Research Associate, Prairie Research Unit; Trevor Garrett, Facilities Coordinator, Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station; Mark Hall, Research Associate, Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station; Mark Harrison, Senior Research Associate, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center; Kelsey Harvey, Assistant Professor, Prairie Research Unit; Lorin Harvey, Assistant Professor, Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station; Thomas Horgan, Senior Research Associate, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center; John Kushla, Extension/Research Professor, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center; Linda Mitchell, Regional Extension Coordinator, Extension Northeast Region; Callie Morris, Research Associate, Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station; Jane Parish, Professor and Head, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center; Dennis Reginelli, Regional Extension Specialist (retired), Extension Northeast Region; Mark Shankle, Research Professor, Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station; Mary Love Tagert, Associate Extension Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Andy Taylor, Research Associate, Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station; Katelin Waldrep, Graduate Student, Agriculture; Jeff Wilson, Assistant Professor, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center; Susan Worthey, Research Associate, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center; and Kalisha Yankey, Research Associate, Prairie Research Unit.

M2401 (08-21)

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Assistant Professor
Portrait of Dr. Lorin Harvey
Assistant Professor
Sweet Potatoes
Portrait of Dr. John Kushla
Extension/Research Professor
Agroforestry, Christmas trees, GIS, forest soils, pine silviculture
Portrait of Dr. Linda C. Mitchell
Ext Prof/Reg Ext Crd/Int Head
Congressional Award, Technology, Expressive Arts, SET
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Professor & Head & Int Head
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Graduate Research Assistant
Portrait of Dr. Jeff Wilson
Assistant Professor
Horticulture: State Master Gardener Coordinator

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