Researchers, farmers gather for field day

VERONA – The extreme heat Thursday was blamed for the lower-than-anticipated attendance at the row crops field day at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center.
About 200 people were expected. About 75 showed up for the half-day event that focused on agricultural research and the state of the region’s crops.
Normally, about 75 producers, which includes farmers and cattlemen, show up. Thursday, about 25 were in attendance, said Normie Buehring, the superintendent and senior agronomist for NMREC.
“It’s one of those hot days that people don’t want to come out,” Buehring said.
Because of the heat, the researchers made their presentations inside the Magnolia Conference Center on the grounds of the Lee County Agri-Center. Usually, the day includes field tours and outdoor presentations.
Lester Spell, the state commissioner of agriculture and commerce, used his keynote speech to say that he sees good things happening in the state’s agriculture industry.
“The future of farmland in Mississippi is great,” he said.
The two main reasons, he said, are statewide support of farming and the state’s water supply.
He said he expects large vegetable-producing operations to grow in popularity in the coming years.
Cotton, however, won’t regain the acreage it once held, he said. The trend, Spell said, is for an increase in grain crops to support the global demand for food.
One grain crop – corn – is chugging along this year in Northeast Mississippi, said Erick Larson, a Mississippi State University agronomy specialist for corn.
Reuben Moore, associate director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said the farmers this year are “much more optimistic than they were last year.”
From what Larson has seen, he expects this year’s corn crop in Northeast Mississippi to be a little better than average. He said much of the corn is reaching maturity and will be ready to harvest soon.
He said the brown or yellow corn fields are normal this time of year as the plants dry out before they are harvested.
The yield, he said, will be determined by how much rain the fields received.
Cotton and soybeans still have some time to go, Larson said, and could use a substantial rain in Northeast Mississippi.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal