The faculty and staff in the department are involved in research projects in several areas. One important part of research in the department is student experience. Undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty members on research projects. During this time, the students are able to gain hands-on experience in their field of study which is a fundamental part of education. Many faculty members also maintain laboratories specific to their areas of research. For more information on specific research projects, please visit the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
Bioenergy & Alternative Crops
Brian Baldwin, David Lang, Jesse Morrison, Brett Rushing
Scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station develop agronomically, economically, and environmentally sustainable cropping systems for production, harvesting, and handling of biomass crops in Mississippi. The crops being studied include: switchgrass, castor, giant miscanthus, sunflower and various other lignocellulosic and oilseed crops. Scientists have been researching, breeding and selecting for superior traits in switchgrass and Giant miscanthus for over a decade. The Giant miscanthus has yielded as much as 25 tons per acre has been licensed for propagation in the Southeast U.S. where it has outperformed other varieties.
Scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station work to a) develop high yielding good fiber quality cotton lines from a wide source of germplasm, b) select nectariless genotypes that produce good yields when grown under damaging levels of plant bug populations, and c) participate in the University cotton variety trial and coordination of a program that allows public cotton breeders to evaluate advanced breeding lines over a wide range of environments.
Casey Barickman, Glover Triplett, Jac Varco
Scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are exploring novel ways to utilize cover crops in the improvement of soil health. These studies include how poultry litter coupled with legumes can improve soil properties and nitrogen availability; how cover crops can help organic, naturally-certified, and conventional vegetable producers; and how specific tillage and cover crop practices will help solve the specific problem of crusting in silt loam soils.
Environmental Plant Physiology
K. Raja Reddy
Scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station conduct research to understand mechanisms of plant responses to several environmental factors (temperature, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, ultraviolet-B radiation, water deficits, nutrition etc.) at the biochemical, leaf, and canopy level in both controlled environments and whole systems in the field. Scientists are also developing mechanistic crop simulation models and remote sensing algorithms to understand crop physiology and evaluate crop management strategies and physiological traits for genetic yield improvement. Part of this work includes applying modeling tools for crop production management, and policy decision of the impact of climate perturbations on crop production.
Environmental Soil Management
Michael Cox, Wayne Ebelhar, Bobby Golden, William Kingery, Jac Varco
Scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station examine soil fertility and management to increase the efficiency of crop production practices while minimizing their potential for adverse environmental effects. This research also involves evaluating Best Management Practices to reduce nutrient and sediment movement from food and fiber production areas to adjacent water bodies.
Brian Baldwin, David Lang, Rocky Lemus, Bisoondat Macoon, Jesse Morrison, Brett Rushing
Scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station develop new forage varieties and test forages for year round grazing systems. The grazing system, combined with the MAFES Official Variety Trials program in forages, and forage testing programs all work together to make Mississippians better forage managers for grazing cattle and hay production.
Scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station student the applied use of unmanned aircraft systems in agriculture and water conservation.
The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station rice breeding program develops long-grain rice varieties with high yield, excellent physical/milling/cooking/eating qualities, and resistance to major diseases and insect pests, using both classical and modern approaches. Other traits of interest include tolerance to specific herbicides and to abiotic stresses such as heat and salinity. The program also conducts the state-wide MAFES Official Variety Trials in rice and collaborates with other rice-growing US states through the Uniform Rice Research Nurseries to ensure superior adaptability and yield stability of rice varieties released for the Mississippi Delta.
George Awuni (soybean), Darrin Dodds (cotton), Wayne Ebelhar (rotation), Bobby Golden (rice), Brien Henry (corn), Erick Larson (corn, wheat), Ed Redoña (rice), Mark Shankle (sweet potato), Brendan Zurweller (peanut)
Scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station work in numerous areas including conservation tillage, crop rotation, herbicide and fertilizer application and timing, and other row crop production management systems to ensure farmer success.
Jay McCurdy, Eric Reasor, Barry Stewart
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientists conduct turfgrass research including management of diseases, insects, and weeds as well as mapping herbicide resistance and helping landscape managers manage resistant weeds. Studies also develop best management practices for home-lawn and sports turf in order to prevent environmental risks. Scientists also identify shade tolerant bermudagrass varieties for use on athletic fields and golf courses.
Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture
Gary Bachman, Guihong Bi, Eugene K. (Gene) Blythe, Shaun Broderick, Christine Coker, Cole Etheridge, Richard L. Harkess, Patricia Knight, Tongyin Li
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist conduct research focused on greenhouse and woody ornamental plants including studying flowering, new crop development, and production technology and techniques. Research also includes commercial plant propagation, nursery production systems, and evaluation of ornamental plants for performance in specific regions.
Fruit and Vegetable Crop Production
Casey Barickman, Guihong Bi, Christine Coker, Tongyin Li, Rick Snyder, Eric Stafne
Research in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station includes crop quality, soils and substrates, nutrients/fertility, waste utilization, and organic production. Studies on carbon and photosynthesis, pigment determination (lycopene, chlorophyll, etc.), and soil and plant nutrient extractions and analyses are also conducted.
Forage Crops, Highway Rights of Way, Terrestrial Invasive Weeds, and Turf
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist conduct research on the development of economically feasible management strategies for weeds in these environments.
Row Crop Weed Control
Taghi Bararpour, Jason A. Bond, Connor Ferguson, Dan Reynolds, Paul Tseng
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist conduct research on development of economic weed management programs, characterization of the interactions between crops and weed species, and investigation of cropping systems. Development of systems for management of diseases and insects are also being studied.
Mississippi Genome Exploration Laboratory (MGEL)
MGEL is a diverse group of scholars/scientists interested in learning more about the genomes and genetics of plants (and a few fungi and animals as well).
Mississippi Genome Exploration Laboratory (MGEL)
Mississippi Specialty Crops Research Program
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist are developing a program on specialty crops and value-added products in Mississippi. Their group is evaluating medicinal and aromatic crops (MAC) as new cash crops for the region. They are also developing cropping systems with oilseed crops for bioenergy/biodiesel production. The overall goal of the program is to increase profitability of cropping systems in Mississippi and the southern U.S.
The Soybean Innovation Laboratory provides the science necessary to enable small producers to share in the rising demand for soybeans. The research also will enable low-resource countries to address problems of food insecurity and protein malnutrition. Mississippi State University is among a consortium of universities and other partners receiving a $25 million, five-year international grant to boost soybean production across Africa. The Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory for Soybean Value Chain Research, also known as the Soybean Innovation Laboratory (SIL), is being funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.