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News From 2008

May 8, 2008 - Filed Under: Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Teachers have a unique opportunity in June to join a group of experts from around the world to study butterflies and moths.

The Lepidopterist Society is holding its 59th annual meeting at Mississippi State University June 23-27. Members from around the world will attend this meeting, and others are gathering for the annual meeting of the Lepidopterists of the Tropics and the Southeast Lepidopterists Society.

May 8, 2008 - Filed Under: Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Spaces remain available in Mississippi State University’s bug camps this summer, offering a different kind of family vacation.

The 15th annual 4-H Entomology Camps, often referred to as “Bug Camp,” will be June 15-19 at Crow’s Neck Environmental Center in Tishomingo County and July 13-17 at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. These camps offer an intergenerational experience the whole family can enjoy.

Bug camp experiences will include insect collecting, plant and insect interaction hikes,

This Sky Blue Surfinia petunia partners well with a Desana Lime sweet potato. Together they will fill and spill over this container's sides all summer long. (Photos by Norman Winter)
May 8, 2008 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Since the invention of air conditioning, patios and decks have not seen as much entertaining and relaxing activities as they now are seeing. Along with outdoor cooking and eating, container gardening with petunias in decorative pots and lush hanging baskets is soaring in popularity.

May 8, 2008 - Filed Under: Fisheries

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's “Arc of Slabs” is a prime destination for families or individuals seeking a day of good fishing or a whole vacation on the water.

The Arc of Slabs, a term recently coined by In-Fisherman magazine, refers to the four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood-control reservoirs along the Interstate 55 corridor in north Mississippi. These water impoundments are Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada lakes. The reservoirs are known for their quality white and black crappie populations and the fishing opportunities they produce. 

Among the garden's features are a central gazebo, raised brick planting beds, paved walkways, an arched bridge, three arbors, and an ornate brick and steel fence. (Photo by Bob Ratliff)
May 8, 2008 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Roses are among the most popular additions to home landscapes, and the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden at Mississippi State University provides a panorama of traditional and new rose varieties.

The garden is located at the Highway 182 entrance to the R. Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Facility.

May 2, 2008 - Filed Under: Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi growers are looking forward to the 2008 rice crop because of news of a potential world rice shortage.

Nathan Buehring, rice specialist at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said the state's rice acreage has been expanding in recent weeks.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's initial planting intentions report released March 31 forecast Mississippi's rice acreage to decline about 5 percent from last year.

A plant pathologist holds evidence of Asian soybean rust on kudzu leaves found in Wilkinson County. (Photo by Bob Ratliff)
May 1, 2008 - Filed Under: Soybeans, Plant Diseases

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Ongoing efforts to track Asian soybean rust and minimize its threat to Mississippi soybean acres led researchers to note that some kudzu, a rust host, resists the disease.

Billy Moore, plant pathologist emeritus working part time with the rust program for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the team searching for rust in the state examines soybeans and kudzu plots for signs of the fungus. They use global positioning system coordinates to note the location of each plot searched for rust.

This mixed planting includes the Graffiti Salmon Rose geranium, the Callie Mango calibrachoa and Calypso Jumbo White bacopa. This geranium serves as the thriller plant, and it definitely thrills with flowers that almost seem to glow. The calibrachoa spilled over the edge of the container while bacopa played the filler plant.
May 1, 2008 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Everyone is pulling cool-season annuals from mixed containers and looking for plants to make a dramatic, warm-season impact. I am seeing a revival of geranium use in containers and in much more creative combinations than I had ever considered.

Mississippi State University students, from the front, Elisabeth Brooks, Patrisha Pham, Alessandra Pham and Joan DeSutter sort canned food into boxes for food pantries in Oktibbeha, Clay and Lowndes counties. (Photo by Marco Nicovich)
May 1, 2008 - Filed Under: Community

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University students collected more than 1,500 pounds of canned goods in their War on Hunger food drive at semester's-end to help stock local pantries in the Mississippi Food Network.

The Committee of 19 campus organization sponsored the food drive, held the last week of April. Although many students had to study for final examinations, they honored their commitment to make a difference, said Chiquita Briley, committee faculty adviser and MSU Extension Service nutrition specialist.

April 25, 2008 - Filed Under: Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Few growers remain in the strawberry business in Mississippi, but consumers still like to buy local produce because of its fresh taste.

“It tastes like a strawberry,” said Allen Eubanks, who with his wife, Janice, owns Eubanks Produce in Greene County. “All our strawberries are handpicked, and they are packed, cooled and shipped out the same night. From the time we pick to the time they are in stores is about two days maximum.”

April 24, 2008 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An upcoming event will offer guidance to the many Southern gardeners compelled by beautiful spring weather to work -- or play -- in their yards.

Mississippi State University’s Spring Garden Day will be from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on May 17. The annual event will take place at the Hiram D. Palmertree North Mississippi Research and Extension Center on Highway 145 South in Verona.

Rush varieties like this dark green Quartz Creek, or Juncus effuses, stand out beside the brown Toffee Twist carex. Rush varieties are among the 2008 Mississippi Medallion award-winning plants and are capturing market attention this spring. (Photo by Norman Winter)
April 24, 2008 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Rush varieties are rounding out this year's Mississippi Medallion winners that are all tough-as-nails and offer impressive design features in flower borders and mixed containers.

April 24, 2008 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A recent incident on the Gulf Coast involving angry European honey bees reminds Mississippians to be prepared for the likely arrival of more aggressive Africanized honey bees.

On March 6 in Pascagoula, a swarm of bees attacked and killed a dog and stung the dog's owner when he tried to rescue it. The swarm was destroyed, and DNA from the bees was tested.

April 18, 2008 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Freezing temperatures, slugs and crawfish sound more like biblical plagues than problems for Mississippi's early corn. Nevertheless, those are among the challenges growers are reporting to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Erick Larson, Extension small grains specialist, said although a mid-April frost likely will cause little damage across much of the state, many other problems are being reported.

April 17, 2008 - Filed Under: Equine

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Horse owners and others wanting to learn more about equine nutrition will have two options for attending a conference May 8-9: online or in Memphis.

The Southeast Equine Conference, “Horse nutrition for the future,” is sponsored by the Extension Services of Mississippi State University and the University of Tennessee. Participants can attend in person at the Agricenter in Memphis, located on the corner of Walnut Grove Road and Germantown Road, or online with an interactive Webcast.

Jac Varco
April 17, 2008 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Jac Varco of Starkville has assumed duties as the interim department head of Mississippi State University’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Varco assumed the responsibilities after the departure of Michael Collins on March 31. The department provides instruction, research and outreach for MSU and the state in agronomy, horticulture, soil science and weed science.

The Sun Parasol has the most deeply saturated red on the market, and everyone has fallen head over heels for velvety flowers. (Photos by Norman Winter)
April 17, 2008 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Many gardeners want plants that will bloom right up until frost. Some past options have been New Gold lantana or the award-winning Diamond Frost euphorbia, and now gardeners can add Sun Parasols mandevilla to that list of summer-long bloomers.

Doug Jeter needs a boat to visit his 150 acres of wheat near the Yazoo River. He holds a wheat head that grew on one of the higher spots in his flooded wheat field in Warren County.  (Photo by Linda Breazeale)
April 11, 2008 - Filed Under: Wheat

VICKSBURG -- Gambling on the river takes on a different meaning every spring for a handful of farmers.

Warren County Extension director John Coccaro said hundreds of acres, some of the county's best cropland, are 10-12 feet under water because of heavy rains well north of Mississippi. Most of the fields were planted in winter wheat last fall when the state was in a seemingly endless drought. Still, the fields have a history of flooding, which makes them too risky for insurance coverage.

Stephen Pruett
April 10, 2008 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The new interim associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine said he plans to continue the successful programs of his predecessor.

Stephen Pruett, head of the CVM Basic Sciences Department since July, assumed his new responsibilities Feb. 25. He succeeds Jerald Ainsworth, who retired after 28 years of service.

“I want to maintain a stable, efficient office that meets the needs of our faculty and students,” Pruett said.  

Scott Willard
April 10, 2008 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Scott Willard has been named head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Mississippi State University.

He will assume this position May 1, although he has held it in interim status for a year. Since 1999, he has been in MSU’s Department of Animal and Dairy Science as a professor of reproductive and environmental physiology.