STONEVILLE — Mississippi State University is expanding its Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville with plans to demonstrate ongoing agricultural research on the additional acreage.
According to a piece written by rice specialist Nathan Buehrig in the 2010 Rice Research Report, the 220-acre farm, which is located southwest of DREC’s headquarters, was obtained through a long-term l6th Section lease.
Since acquiring the land in the fall of 2009, the additional acreage has been precision land formed. The new farm also is being divided into a dozen 18-acre fields. Each of the fields has a permanent pad around it and two drain pipes at the bottom of the field. This design will allow the fields to drain into a tail water recovery system, which will capture surface water for irrigation use throughout the growing season.
Beginning in 2011, the farm will host several large-scale research demonstrations showcasing new varieties, seed treatments, tillage practices, crop rotation benefits, and irrigation systems. The demonstration farm will enable scientists to more easily display research results and production components.
In addition, the ongoing tail water recovery system demonstration will allow for a better look into the long-term effects of surface water irrigation as compared to ground water irrigation.
DREC’s rice breeding department also will utilize the newly transformed fields for variety testing and selection.
Mississippi’s 2010 harvested rice crop of 308,000 acres was the fourth-largest in the state’s history. With 2.8 million acres of long grain rice planted nationwide, the increase may be attributed to higher prices and an increase in crop diversity.
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, rice production in Mississippi posted a record high 20 million hundredweight in 2010. Production in 2010 was up 23 percent from 2009, but yield per acre was down 200 pounds from last year at 6,500 pounds per acre. Much of this decrease is attributed to excessively high summer temperatures, which affected crop pollination.