In 1994, the Louisiana Soybean Verification Program (LSRVP) was initiated by Dr. Walter Morrison, and, since then, more than 125 fields in 20 parishes have been involved. The program is now coordinated by Dr. Ronnie Levy, assistant professor/specialist, and the success of the program has continued to grow.
Historically, LSRVP fields have averaged 12 bushels per acre higher than the state average. The objective of the program is to demonstrate to cooperators that by following LSU AgCenter research-based recommendations, yields can be maximized on large farming operations.
The program is supported annually through donations of seed, chemicals and equipment and is funded by the Louisiana Soybean & Grain Research & Promotion Board.
Louisiana Soybean Research Verification Program
The Louisiana Soybean Research Verification Program (LSRVP) has been extremely successful over the past several years and serves as a model that allows Louisiana producers a chance to participate in a program that demonstrates profitability through improved agronomic and cultural practices. Our neighboring states Mississippi and Arkansas both have similar programs that are very successful. In Mississippi, the program is called the Soybean Management by Application of Research and Technology (SMART), and in Arkansas it is called the Arkansas Research Verification Program. In Louisiana, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, soybean producers averaged 41 bushels per acre on 1,020,000 acres in 2010. This was lower than the national soybean average of 43.5 bushels per acre in 2010. In 2011, USDA is predicting that the Louisiana state average will be 35 Bu/A, which will be lower than the national average of 41 bushels per acre. The lower average in 2011 was due to weather conditions associated with a dry early growing season. Recently, higher soybean value and increased yields due to improved genetics and management have resulted in soybean profitability becoming the norm, barring natural disasters. Over the course of many years, there has been a trend toward increased yields. Some producers consistently produce high yields and make a profit farming soybeans using the technology and information sources that are available to all Louisiana producers; however, many soybean producers are not taking advantage of the data generated by the LSU AgCenter. In addition, some do not manage their soybean crops as primary production income sources. Currently, many Extension educational programs stress production practices but should also consider cost. This LSRVP program was designed to combine production and management recommendations into a holistic whole for the producer. Perhaps most important, soybean growers need to be convinced those LSU AgCenter recommendations are sound and can be used to improve profitability. Objectives:
The LSRVP was implemented in 1994 to demonstrate to soybean producers that current research is available to help improve profit. Producers are selected from representative soybean-producing areas in the state that reflect different cropping systems. The county agent in the parish will be asked to select the participating producer who will be cooperating in the program. The only stipulation that is “strongly encouraged” is that the producer must make every effort to follow LSRVP advice as closely as practical. Each county agent will have backup support from the project coordinator and from a team of state specialists with special expertise in the various phases of production and management. During the winter, a management plan including an individual objective for each field in the program is developed for the producer. The project coordinator with input from the producer, agent and other specialists makes the selection of the field. Selection depends upon whether there is potential for improvement in yields and profits. The grower’s best or poorest field is not selected, but rather an average one with potential for improvement. In each field, a soil test analysis will be conducted for plant nutrients and for possible damaging nematodes. Consultation between the grower and the above-mentioned extension personnel will begin as soon as the fields are selected. During the growing season, the agent will monitor each program field at least once a week with one of the state specialists. As the expertise of others is needed, they will be included. Input during the season will be provided by specialists in weed science, entomology, farm management, plant pathology and soil fertility. During each farm visit, observations will be recorded, and any inputs or recommendations to be made to the grower will be noted. The LSRVP will be conducted for a maximum of two years with the same grower and preferably not on the same field each year. Verification fields were established this year in the parishes of Madison, East Carroll, West Carroll, Catahoula, Concordia, St. Landry, Evangeline and Vermilion. The biggest thing producers say they have learned is how critical timing is for all applications, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and harvest aids, to get the most economic benefits. The Louisiana Soybean Research Verification Program shows that research is applicable to soybean production fields and can help producers improve profitability and sustainability.
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