May 03, 2017
STONEVILLE, MS -- The Delta Research and Extension Center (DREC), located here in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, is a component of Mississippi State University’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine focusing the majority of its attention on research and extension activities in rice, cotton, corn, soybeans, and catfish production.
The physical facilities and scope of research programs have increased since the station's inception in 1904. DREC now covers about 4,700 acres total, including approximately 200 acres of federally-owned land. Row crops are grown on about 1,800 acres, and soil types vary from very fine sandy loams to heavy clays making the research at DREC applicable to producers in a variety of soil environments.
Research and extension faculty work cooperatively to solve crop and aquaculture production problems and relay new solutions to producers. DREC strives to increase yields of commercial agriculture producers while also preserving the country’s natural resources and environment.
“Our mission here at DREC is to provide producers with the most current information needed to make informed decisions on their farms to maximize profitability and sustainability,” said Dr. Jeffery Gore, entomology research professor at Mississippi State University. “By transferring new research information and technology through extension education activities and methods we are able to focus on both the short and long term concerns of producers.”
For example, Read Kelly, a Masters student under Dr. Gore, has concentrated his studies on the impacts of insect pests in rice. “Dr. Gore and I are doing research on the impacts of insects such as the rice stink bug, rice water weevil, and fall armyworm on rice yields as well as the optimal methods of management for these pests,” said Kelly. “The majority of my studies analyze the impact of water conservation and management practices on rice water weevil populations and control.”
Another area of DREC’s research focuses on pollinators. “We are also doing a lot of research to evaluate the occurrence of managed pollinators in rice fields throughout the mid-south to determine the potential impact of pesticide use,” Kelly added. “It is important that researchers and farmers continue to work together to discover the best methods of treating the decline in pollinator populations and promote solutions that will benefit the insects as well as the farmers.”
The work at DREC has had positive implications for producers across the mid-south and the country at large and research conducted here is a tangible example of the benefits that land-grant institutions such as Mississippi State University provide to not only producers, but consumers around the world by discovering innovative methods of producing safe, sustainable, and affordable sources of food and fiber.