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Agribusiness

Drought burns pastures, fields, posing threat to cattle

By JACK WEATHERLY “They’re burnt slam up,” said Bill Carr of his Choctaw County pasture lands and hay fields that haven’t had a rain since late July. His tends 35 head of what he says are brangus “mama cows” and two bulls on 70 hilly acres of pasture land. They are hungry. They came up to his tractor one day ...

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Cal-Maine earnings soar but stock takes a beating

  Jack Weatherly Jackson-based Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the largest producer of in-shell fresh eggs in the United States, had a terrific fiscal first quarter, thanks to the fact that eggs sold for 65.7 percent more than they did in the year-ago quarter. Why the price spike? In two words, avian flu, which forced the destruction of 48 million chickens and ...

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MSU scientists boost recreational fishing industry

STARKVILLE — Nature offers a narrow and unpredictable window for breeding fish, and Mississippi State University scientists are studying ways to help hatcheries stock the state’s lakes. What if conditions could be controlled within hatcheries so the intense seasonal workload could be dispersed over time? This ability would be especially beneficial for the popular black, white, and hybrid triploid Magnolia crappie. In ...

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Lack of rain has growers expecting average peanuts

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi farmers planted more peanuts in response to economic factors that made the crop an attractive choice this year, but a lack of rain now has them expecting average yields. Mississippi has 42,000 acres of peanuts this year, up 45 percent from what was planted in 2014. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 84 percent of the ...

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Invasive crape myrtle pest spreading in state

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State University experts found an invasive insect that attacks crape myrtles on the coast this spring and now have spotted the pest in two cities on opposite ends of the state. The insects are crape myrtle bark scale, or CMBS, and they were found March 15 in Ocean Springs in Jackson County. In August, the insects were ...

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Turfgrass production shows improvement

STARKVILLE — Sod supply in Mississippi is slowly rebounding in 2015 after a major shortage of the commodity last year. Jay McCurdy, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said turfgrass remains in short supply this year due to a decline in acreage and recent harsh winters. “In the last three years, we’ve seen a steady trend of ...

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Rice harvest underway, yields, acreage in question

STONEVILLE — Rice harvest has begun in Mississippi, but only time will tell how many acres were actually planted and how good yields will be. “There’s not a lot of yield reports yet, but I think we’re going to have a good crop,” said Bobby Golden, rice agronomist with the MSU Extension Service and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and ...

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Sanderson Farms fiscal performance takes hit from wobbly market

By JACK WEATHERLY The outbreak of avian flu and other factors cut deeply into Sanderson Farms’ profits in the third fiscal quarter, the Laurel-based poultry producer and processor  said in a release on Tuesday. Net sales were $740 million for the fiscal third quarter, down from $768 million a year earlier. Net income fell  to $50.9 million, or $2.27 a ...

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Timber prices hover around 2014 levels

STARKVILLE — Mississippi’s timber industry is holding steady this year from 2014 as both the U.S. housing market and the demand for lumber continue to improve gradually. State average stumpage prices for hardwood sawtimber declined sharply in the second fiscal quarter of 2015 from the first quarter, while pine sawtimber prices increased. Hardwood sawtimber is down compared to a year ago, while ...

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Cold wet spring makes for later cotton blooms this year

STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State University Extension Service says a cold, wet spring has slowed cotton development by about 10 days this year. An extension news release adds that cotton producers also are battling plant bugs, bollworms and dry weather as they work to bring their crops to harvest. Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Extension Service, said bolls on ...

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