Research

Refereed Publications | Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station

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. The information on the labs and ongoing research projects can be found below organized by research area.

Agronomy

Bioenergy Crops
Brian Baldwin, Rocky Lemus, Bisoondat Macoon, Brett Rushing, Jac Varco
The primary goal of the feedstocks research of the Sustainable Energy Research Center at Mississippi State University is to 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. (See advertisement as it appeared in Biomass magazine)


Cotton Breeding
Ted Wallace
Research goals include: a) development of high yielding good fiber quality cotton lines from a wide source of germplasm, b) selection of nectariless genotypes that produce good yields when grown under damaging levels of plant bug populations, and c) participation 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.


Environmental Plant Physiology
K. Raja Reddy
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 Plant Physiology


Environmental Soil Management Laboratory
Michael Cox
Site specific soil management issues are studied with the objective of increasing 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.


Forages
Rocky Lemus
Where the Grass is Greener: Dr. Rocky Lemus is on a mission: to help Mississippi producers become better forage managers. To accomplish his mission, he and Joshua White, manager of the MAFES Official Variety Testing program in forages, are developing a year-round grazing system. The grazing system, combined with the Official Variety Trials program in forages, and a newly developed forage testing program all work together to make Mississippians better forage managers for grazing cattle and hay production.


Rice Breeding
Ed Redoña
Based at the Delta Research Experiment Center in Stoneville, MS, the goal of the rice breeding program is to develop 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 Mississippi Rice Variety Trials 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.


Row Crops
Normie Buehring, Darrin Dodds, Wayne Ebelhar, Bobby Golden, Brien Henry, Erick Larson, Jason Sarver,
Conservation tillage and row crop production management systems are being studied.


Turfgrass
Christian Baldwin, Barry Stewart
Turfgrass research includes management of diseases, insects, and weeds as well as mapping herbicide resistance and helping landscape managers manage resistant weeds. Studies are also developing best management practices for home-lawn and sport turf in order to prevent environmental risks. Scientists are also identifying more shade tolerant bermudagrass varieties for use on athletic fields and golf courses. More than a decade of research led to the development of four new and improved bermudagrass cultivars at Mississippi State University. In order to increase the commercial visibility of the four new Bermudagrasses, each cultivar has been assigned a unique identifying mark. All four Bermudagrass brands are available for sale in Mississippi.
Turfgrass


Horticulture

Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture
Shaun Broderick, Richard L. Harkess
Research is focused on greenhouse and woody ornamental plants including studying flowering, new crop development, and production technology and techniques.
Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture


Landscape Ornamental Performance, Rose Cultivar Evaluation, Cut Flower Production
R. Crofton Sloan
This research involves evaluating the effect of rose rootstock on rose cultivar performance, the long term effect of soil amendments on plant growth and soil properties, rose cultivars and field grown cut flower production.


Ornamental crop production
Guihong Bi
Research focuses on improving the production efficiency of ornamental crops and expanding knowledge of new crop production practices for the state's expanding green industry.


Propagation and Production of Ornamental Nursery Crops
Eugene K. (Gene) Blythe
Research includes commercial plant propagation, nursery production systems, and evaluation of ornamental plants for performance in specific regions, along with the application of nontraditional statistical methods in horticultural research.


Vegetable Crop Production
Casey Barickman, William (Bill) Evans
Research 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 currently being conducted.


Weed Science

Forage Crops, Highway Rights of Way, Terrestrial Invasive Weeds, and Turf
John Byrd
Research on the development of economically feasible management strategies for weeds in these environments.


Row Crop Weed Control
Jason A. Bond, Connor Ferguson, Dan Reynolds, Paul Tseng
Research areas include 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. Studies are also spanning six states to determine the viability of various cropping management strategies for the sustainability of Roundup Ready programs as an effective tool for weed control.


More Research Programs

Genomics

Mississippi Genome Exploration Laboratory (MGEL)
Daniel Peterson
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)


Specialty Crops

Mississippi Specialty Crops Research Program

Scientists 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.


Soybean Innovation Laboratory

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. 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.