Kyle’s News & Reviews In Agriculture

By Kyle Jeffreys

Last week I was juggling several events like the 4-H State Horse Show, opening day at the Coffeeville Farmers Market, my dad’s retirement reception from Renasant Bank and helping with vacation Bible school at my church Coffeeville United Methodist Church.  

The Farmers’ Market and the retirement reception kind of worked together, since both were held on Renasant Bank property.  My dad, William Jeffreys, is retiring after 41 years of service in the banking industry.  It is hard for me to imagine working for 41 years at one job, that takes loyalty from the employee and employer.  

Over the years one of the constants around Coffeeville has been seeing my dad sitting in the office of the bank.  When I was in elementary school at Coffeeville and playing summer league baseball, which my dad volunteered to run, I remember all of the kids teasing me, saying my family was rich because my dad owned the bank.  

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I guess he probably does own some of the bank from stock options through retirement savings, but I can tell you he earned all of the money he made there.  

I don’t know about you but I have a tough time worrying about my own money, can you imagine having to worry about half of Yalobusha County’s money.  It was good seeing people come out to support him at the reception for him in Coffeeville.  Going into the bank in Coffeeville will not be the same, but I know my dad will stay busy in his retirement.  

The State Horse Show was a success for 4-H as a whole and for several 4-Hrs from Yalobusha County.  Ericka Logan was the only riding participant in the show this year but we also had a couple of other kids enter the horse art contests.  In the past I have worked every day of the Horse Show in Jackson but this year I only had to work two days, which were limited to the roping/cow classes on Thursday and the Speed events on Saturday. 

I was not able to see all of Ericka’s riding classes but the ones that I did see she did very well in.  As far as the art contest is considered Yalobusha County had a couple of State winners and Ericka had an overall win with one piece of her work.  

Watermelons gain ground as soils dry out, temps increase

Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith

MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. — Some Mississippi watermelon producers lost crops or got a late start because of wet spring weather. But consumers should find the sweet, summer treats on shelves in time for the July 4 holiday.

“The crops in my county are a few days behind, but I have some growers who started harvesting last week and others who started this week,” said Jeremy Maness, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Smith County.

According to the June 17 Mississippi Crop Progress and Condition Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 67 percent of the crop is in good condition, and 25 percent is in fair condition. Just 6 percent is rated as poor.

Mike Courtney, co-owner of Courtney Farms in George County, Mississippi, discusses his 2019 watermelon crop.

Although the cool spring weather also caused some problems early in the growing season for some of the eight commercial growers in George County, conditions and fields there are great right now.

“We had some issues with root rot and stand problems with the cool nights we had early on,” said Heath Steede, Extension agent in George County. “But right now, overall, everything looks really good. It will probably be the best year we’ve had in several years if we don’t get too much rain in the coming weeks.”

Large amounts of rainfall and continuously wet fields can lead to disease problems.

Even though producers in some areas of Smith County have had heavy rainfall, they have not had to deal with disease yet, Maness said.

“We’ll see an increase in the possibility for disease as temperatures rise,” he said.

Kyle Jeffreys, Extension agent in Yalobusha County, expects 20 percent of the commercial crop in his county to be harvested by July 4. Producers were a few weeks late getting their watermelons planted, but improved conditions have fields looking good.

“The crop is doing well now that the soil is drying out and temperatures are increasing,” Jeffreys said. “Insect and disease pressure has been minimal at this stage of the crop. The only disease problem I have seen was gummy stem blight in seedlings in a greenhouse, and that was determined to be from an infected seed lot.”

Growers have been fighting a few more weeds than usual because of excessive rain disrupting herbicide applications, Jeffreys said.

Seeded watermelons are wholesaling for 10 to 12 cents per pound, while wholesale prices for seedless watermelons are 20 to 25 cents per pound.

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