From Issue Summer 2017
Founded in 1947 on about 178 acres, today's Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station is part of the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona. The station occupies 323 acres along the Coonewah Creek.
The 70-year-old station has moved through numerous research focus areas as the needs of producers have changed. From the late 1940s through the 1950s, major emphasis was in poultry and broiler management research. From the late 1950s through the 1960s, dairy management and horticultural research were main focuses. In the early 1970s, emphasis shifted to dairy replacement heifer management and agronomic row-crop research.
Currently, the station's research includes row crop and vegetable/ornamental horticulture research. A centerpiece of the station is the Magnolia Botanical Gardens which serves as a demonstration and educational resource for green industry professionals and consumers.
Row-crop research is comprehensive and includes the MAFES Official Variety Trials in cotton. The station's current major agronomic row-crop research efforts include the evaluation of early season corn hybrid and Maturity Group III, IV, and V soybean varieties for yield and late season diseases; tillage radishes as a cover crop; and the evaluation and development of conservation tillage systems and crop residue management for corn and soybeans that minimize soil disturbance, enhance yield, improve soil quality, and reduce production costs.
With much of the row-crop research located near the Coonewah Creek, surface drainage has been a concern for the station. Scientists began a concerted effort in the 1980s to improve surface drainage by shaping each field using land-forming technology. An irrigation lake was constructed in 1985 to irrigate research plots via gravity feed through an underground pipe system with risers located in the corners of each field. This system is being used to irrigate foundation rice and selected studies with furrow irrigation.
The vegetable horticulture research unit evaluates many types of vegetables, including tomato, watermelon, pumpkin, southern pea, lima bean and sweet corn. Additional horticulture research is on the horizon as needs are identified and existing research efforts are expanded.
The station hosts a bi-annual field day to showcase row-crop research, in addition to other events aimed at educating homeowners, producers, and landowners. A virtual tour of the station is available at mafes.msstate.edu/branches/north.asp?location=northeast. Find out more about vegetable crop physiology and production systems research at www.vegetable.mafes.msstate.edu.
The Experiment Station is located on MS Highway 145 in Verona. For more information, visit mafes.msstate.edu/branches/north.asp