From cotton and corn to soybeans and cattle, just about every major agricultural commodity in Louisiana grows in central Louisiana. The LSU AgCenter’s Dean Lee Research and Extension Station in Alexandria serves this region, the heart of Louisiana agriculture.The annual field day at the station is July 19. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Read more.On more than 3,000 acres of Red River alluvial soil, Dean Lee is the largest of the AgCenter's 20 research stations. It includes 900 acres of pasture, 650 acres row crops and 1,200 acres of hardwood timber and is located on Highway 71, six miles south of Alexandria.
Harper said he appreciates that the research at Dean Lee is pertinent to the area. “It’s a great asset to the ag community,” he said.John VanMol, who operates Leverton Farms near Alexandria in partnership with Kenneth Andries, called the station a valuable resource.
“I don’t know how we’d get along without them,” he said. “They’re always available and help us make good choices.”VanMol said the researchers, specialists, agents and research associates at Dean Lee are “top-notch, with common sense. They help us stay profitable.”Boyd Padgett, a plant pathologist, has taken over the duties of director for the AgCenter's Central Region, which include overseeing the operation of the station.
Performance Bull TestingThe performance bull testing program has been going on for 50 years and is the longest running program of its type in the United States.
“Owners consign bulls to our care for 112 days,” said Sid Derouen, livestock complex coordinator and the lead researcher on the performance bull testing program. “We monitor them, look at their average growth and look at the soundness of the bull.”
Derouen conducts two tests a year, collecting data to give to breeders and commercial cattle producers.
He says the benefits of the test are two-fold. “The owner of the animal gets a benchmark for how their bull compares to other bulls across the state, and the commercial producer gets the opportunity to have data to select bulls for herd sires.”
More than 7,000 animals have gone through the program.
Weed ResearchWeed research programs under the direction of Daniel Stephenson at the Dean Lee station are designed to evaluate weed control and crop response of experimental preemergence and postemergence herbicides in comparison with standard treatments for soils of the Louisiana's Red River Valley.
Researchers develop weed control programs using new herbicides in soybeans, cotton, corn, grain sorghum and wheat. And they use the results of these tests to develop weed management programs for use in reduced tillage crop production, including the evaluation of reduced rates, adjuvants and herbicide combinations.
The weed research program develops weed management strategies using genetically transformed varieties of corn, cotton and soybeans to evaluate tolerance to specific herbicides and their utility in existing weed management programs. Stephenson leads the state's effort in studying herbicide resistance. His team investigates the presence of resistance and develops control strategies for herbicide resistance.Stephenson is also the site coordinator for plant programs.Soybean ResearchThe lead scientist for soybeans in Louisiana, Ron Levy, is headquartered at the Dean Lee Station. His research efforts include evaluating the use of inoculants in soybeans to reduce fertilizer costs, comparing Liberty Link soybeans with Roundup Read soybeans and evaluating the use of pre-emergence herbicides as a management tool. Levy coordinates the soybean variety testing program.Entomology Research and ExtensionJulien Beuzelin has taken over the duties of research and extension entomologist at the station. He works with cotton, corn and soybeans.
Cotton and Feed Grains ExtensionCotton and feed grains extension specialist John Kruse is a resource for production information on cotton and feed grains. He conducts research and compiles research information on variety performance for cotton, corn and grain sorghum in Louisiana and disseminates the information to the state’s farmers.Livestock ComplexA state-of-the-art livestock facility located at the Dean Lee Station features a 60,000-square-foot livestock arena, holding pens, tie racks, wash facilities, restrooms, events office and a concession stand. The facility also contains a 7,000-square-foot, climate-controlled sales arena for junior sales, adult cattle association events and general agriculture-related meetings. Rapides Parish Extension Office With the Rapides Parish Extension Service now at Dean Lee, the Central Region is well-equipped to enhance the service to the agricultural community by providing technical research information and educational programs at one site. Extension agents and specialists work with researchers to develop research-based educational programs applicable to local conditions. The extension agents provide programming on family and consumer science, community development and 4-H youth activities in addition to agriculture and natural resources.The LSU AgCenter is one of 11 institutions of higher education in the Louisiana State University System. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, it provides educational services in every parish and conducts research that contributes to the economic development of the state. The LSU AgCenter does not grant degrees nor benefit from tuition increases. The LSU AgCenter plays an integral role in supporting agricultural industries, enhancing the environment, and improving the quality of life through its 4-H youth, family and community programs.
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