Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Cotton Pickin’ Equipment Problems Slow Harvest

By Steve Cummings

Harvest is still going good in Yalobusha County, and hopefully it will continue.  Last Friday I rode around with North Mississippi Herald Editor, David Howell, looking at the crops in the county.  The crops looked good and the weather conditions were good, but ironically, just about every place we went or every farmer we talked to, all seemed to be having some sort of equipment troubles.  Cotton pickers and combines were all going down.  Harvest last Friday was slowed by equipment malfunctions.  Wonder if they will allow David Howell and I to stop by and visit next year?

If you read this article in time and are over 50, you may want to attend the AARP Driver Safety Program being offered on October 9th and 10th.  The classes start at 8:15am each day at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  There is a $10 charge, but taking this course may save on your insurance premiums.

Go ahead and mark your calendar for October 21st at 10am at the Multipurpose Building.  Dr. Lelia Kelly will present a program on fall gardening.  This program is being sponsored by the Yalobusha County Homemakers Club.

If you plan to order MSU cheese this year, you need to get those orders in as soon as possible, as reports from the MAFES Sales Store indicates they are selling out fast.  The later the order is placed, the more likely that your order may not be completely filled.  Call our office at 675-2730, and we’ll be glad to help you place your order.

Horticulture Tips:

Pay careful attention to low temperature predictions for the next several weeks. Mid-October is the projected first frost date for much of Mississippi. Normally the first frost events are very brief dips into cold temperatures followed by a rapid warming back to the seventies for high temperature. You can protect your warm season plants by covering them in the afternoon with plastic, paper, or cloth to prevent heat loss during the night and removing the covering the next day. A little time covering and uncovering can extend your warm season plants’ lives by several weeks. Vine ripe tomatoes in November are a big reward for spending a little time in October.

Don’t forget the Fall Flower and Garden Fest at Crystal Springs on October 17 and 18. There are lots of flowers and vegetables on display including 27 varieties of green, yellow and purple snap beans, 38 varieties of white, black, purple, and red Southern peas, 30 varieties of tomatoes, 18 varieties of squash, 18 varieties of cucumber, leeks, parsley, edamame, peanuts and all sorts of other vegetables. The garden is set up as a walk through and MSU people in denim vests will be there to answer your questions. Contact your local MSU Extension office to see if there are any organized groups you could join to visit the Truck Crops Experiment station on either of those days.

Be sure to keep greens well watered. The ideal temperatures and abundant sunshine we have been having these past several weeks have probably depleted all that rain we got from Ike. Wilted greens may be a delicious way of serving them on the table, but greens that wilt in the field tend to be strongly flavored and tough.

Limiting Fleas and Ticks on Your Lawn

Flea and tick populations can occasionally reach high numbers in a lawn.  Not only do they cause irritating painful bites but they can also transmit serious diseases.  Ticks are very hardy and can survive many months waiting for a suitable host.  

To limit the potential for ticks and fleas in your lawn the following tips will help.  These pests are usually brought into the home lawn aboard pets or other animals including wild animals. Therefore, the first step is to control ticks on the animals that frequent the area.  

For your pets applying appropriate collars, repellents and insecticides will help. Do not allow them to roam wooded areas and carry ticks back into the lawn.  For wild animals and strays limit their access by fencing, lights, etc. Keep vegetation cut low to discourage deer and other animals from entering the lawn.  

And lastly if ticks or fleas do infest your lawn use appropriate insecticidal sprays to control them.  It is best to treat the entire lawn but the most obvious areas will be where pets rest, along paths or trails that are traveled by wildlife, around building perimeters and on any tall weedy vegetation.

You can also reduce the chance of being bitten by ticks or fleas by protecting yourself when working or playing where they may be.  Tuck pants legs into tops of boots or socks.  Keep shirttails in and use repellents such as permethrin or DEET.  For more details on these and other insects that may invade your lawn refer to extension publication # 2331.

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