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  • Author or Editor: Christine E. Coker x
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The National Guard State Partnership Program seeks to link the National Guards of the United States with Ministries of Defense of emerging democratic nations in cooperative activities of mutual benefit. The Program aims to enhance those connections by bringing “Hometown America” onto the international stage through personal, sustained relationships. These associations could build a “Bridge to America,” establishing and nurturing bonds of mutual understanding at the grass roots level. The focus of the program has shifted rapidly to the “citizen” aspects of the National Guard, with instruction, orientation, and personnel exchanges in areas such as economic development, small business administration, and entrepreneurship. Mississippi's program partner is Bolivia. Mississippi State University was called upon to participate in the program by providing Subject Matter Experts. Scientists spent seven days in Bolivia working with the Bolivian military (made up of conscripted soldiers as young as 14 years of age), the Catholic University, and local villages, advising on greenhouse vegetable production and instructing program participants on cultural practices that would benefit their communities.

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Three years of trials in Mississippi have led to the naming of a Mississippi Medallion vegetable award winner for 2007, the fourth vegetable winner in the program's history. The Medallion program looks for garden crops that will perform throughout the state of Mississippi and help improve sales of plant materials to gardeners at retail. The Medallion selection process illustrates how growers and marketers, not just gardeners, can select specialty vegetables and cultivars for production and sale. Between 2003 and 2005, the Mississippi Medallion trials evaluated 11 sweet peppers with no green fruit stage for ornamental and yield value. Each site had three or four replications of all cultivars under evaluation annually with four plants per plot set out on raised beds with drip irrigation. Objective evaluation included total yield, marketable yield, fruit size, and days to harvest. Subjective evaluation included crop uniformity, pest tolerance, and appearance of the fruit based on color, uniformity, and shape. After nine trials, four cultivars were among the highest-yielding group in most trials: Mavras, Tequilla, Blushing Beauty, and Gypsy. The Medallion winner, to be announced in Fall 2006, was selected in part because it was within or near the top-yielding group, by least significant difference, in most trials. The perceived attractiveness of the mature fruit to the evaluating team and the perceived potential marketability of the cultivar moved it above the others under consideration. The reasons for not selecting other cultivars as the winner are as important as the reasons for selecting the winning cultivar. In the Medallion pepper case, these were mostly marketability concerns with the other cultivars, not yield issues, relative to that of the winner.

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The IR-4 program works to identify potential minor-use horticultural chemicals and evaluate them for phytotoxicity and efficacy. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate phytotoxicity and weed control of three unlabeled herbicides on field production of Hemerocallis spp. `Ming Toy'. Ten-cm pots of `Ming Toy' were planted into the field 16 July 2001. Each plot consisted of 3 plants per treatment with 6 replications in a completely random design. Each herbicide was analyzed as a separate experiment. Herbicide treatments consisted of clopyralid (0.14, 0.28, 0.56, or 1.1 kg·ha-1 a.i.), clethodim (125, 250, or 500 mL·L-1 a.i.), or bentazon (1.1, 2.2, or 4.4 kg·ha-1 a.i.). Data collected included weed number, percentage of weed coverage (% weed coverage), and phytotoxicity and foliar color ratings for `Ming Toy'. Clopyralid reduced total weed number 90 DAT although % weed coverage was similar or worse compared to the control treatment. Phytotoxicity 90 DAT was not significant for plants treated with clopyralid, but foliar color ratings were reduced. Application of clethodim to `Ming Toy' plots, regardless of rate, resulted in similar weed numbers compared to the control 49 DAT. Clethodim application, regardless of rate, reduced % weed coverage compared to the control treatment. Phytotoxicity 90 DAT was not significant, regardless of herbicide treatment, but foliar color ratings were lower for herbicide treated plants compared to the control. Bentazon, regardless of rate, reduced weed number and % weed coverage 49 DAT compared to the control. Phytotoxicity was similar to the control for plants treated with 1.1 kg·ha-1 a.i.

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Nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) were believed to be important nutrient management tools for the production of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L. ‘German’) with desirable oil content and composition and acceptable herbage yields. A multilocation research study was initiated to evaluate the effect of N (0, 60, 120, and 180 kg·ha−1 N) and S (0, 20, 40, and 80 kg·ha−1 S) rates on biomass production, oil content, and oil composition for sweet basil. The three locations in Mississippi (Stoneville, Poplarville, and Verona) were selected based on soil type, geographic, and climatic variation. Location, N rate, and their interaction were significant on basil dry herbage yields. The herbage yield means were 4967 kg·ha−1, 2907 kg·ha−1, and 2122 kg·ha−1 for Poplarville, Verona, and Stoneville, respectively. Oil content was significantly affected by location with means of 0.69%, 0.80%, and 0.64% for Stoneville, Poplarville, and Verona, respectively. Location, N, and S had significant effects on oil yields with means of 14.7, 38.7, and 18.5 kg·ha−1 for Stoneville, Poplarville, and Verona, respectively. The significant quadratic response of essential oil yields to N fertilization rates showed oil yields were maximized for fertilization between 50 and 60 kg·ha−1 N. In contrast, the response to S fertilization appeared to continue to increase beyond the maximum fertilization rate evaluated of 80 kg·ha−1 S. Location and N application rates had a significant effect on the yields of the major basil oil constituents (–)-linalool, eugenol, (–)-bornyl acetate, and eucalyptol, whereas S had a significant effect on eucalyptol yield only. Eucalyptol concentration was positively correlated to the concentration of (–)-bornyl acetate. This is the first study to quantify (in real concentration) the response of the major sweet basil oil constituents (–)-linalool, eugenol, (–)-bornyl acetate, and eucalyptol as a function of N and S application rates. Also, it is the first study to demonstrate a strong response of basil oil yield to S. The results from this study demonstrated that N and S applications can be used as management tools with respect to sweet basil production, oil content, and oil composition.

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