Henry Mascagni, Coolman, Denise, Padgett, Guy B., Moore, Steven H., Williams, Billy James, Clawson, Ernest L., Overstreet, Charles | 7/2/2005 3:21:08 AM
ST. JOSEPH – Producers could see new ways to grow more profitable crops in the near future as a result of research at the LSU AgCenter’s Northeast Research Station and others across the state.
One project highlighted during the research reports at the Northeast Research Station’s Field Day Wednesday (June 29) was dual-row production of corn.
That ongoing project being conducted by LSU AgCenter researcher Dr. Rick Mascagni and research associate Robert Bell looks at how agronomic practices affect yield potential of corn produced on traditional single rows and on dual rows. The dual rows are about 9 ½ inches apart centered on 40-inch-wide raised beds.
"This project involves comparing yields of corn planted in a dual-row setting to corn planted in single rows," Mascagni said. "We’re looking at how different seeding rates and nitrogen rates affect yields for the two row configurations."
The researchers are comparing seeding rates of 25,000, 30,000, 35,000 and 40,000 seeds per acre and nitrogen rates of 150, 180, 210 and 240 pounds per acre. Mascagni said the optimum plant population (seeding rate) probably will be influenced by rainfall and hot temperatures that often affect Louisiana corn crops.
"Our study has found that when yield expectations are high, optimum plant populations are about 30,000 per acre," he said. "For lower yield expectations, fewer plants may be used."
Producers with lower yield expectations can plant fewer seed and save money.
LSU AgCenter researchers also are testing corn hybrids, according to reports heard at the field day.
Dr. Steve Moore, a researcher at the LSU AgCenter’s Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria, and Dr. Ken Damann, an LSU plant pathologist, said hybrid selection is an important factor producers should consider before planting a corn crop.
"Most of the corn hybrids now being tested are transgenic and carry resistance to herbicides and/or insects," Moore said. "Since there are many new hybrids in the test, it is important to look at our data when selecting a hybrid for production."
Moore and Damann also talked about research being done on developing new hybrids with resistance to aflatoxin and the search for new resistant genetic material, as well as research on using Liberty herbicide to reduce aflatoxin in corn.
Several topics covering cotton research also were covered during the Northeast Station’s field day.
Dr. Charles Overstreet, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, warned producers to be on the lookout for nematodes.
"These pests are often subtle," Overstreet said. "They can cause a lot of damage without ever being noticed. It is important that you scout your fields and keep on the lookout for nematodes."
Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack plants and animals. Nematodes are structurally simple organisms. But the damage they do is major.
"Don’t let them creep up on you," Overstreet warned.
Studies are also being done on irrigation and planting dates for cotton. Dr. Ernie Clawson, an agronomist at the Northeast Research Station, is in the process of installing a lysimeter to use in studying water usage.
A lysimeter consists of a large container of soil planted to a crop. The lysimeter is placed in the field with the surface at ground level. Since water can escape only through the soil or the plant, crop water use is measured by changes in the container weight.
The results can be useful in predicting irrigation needs, Clawson said. Data collected can be used to estimate the amount of water a crop uses and how that is affected by plant growth stages and weather conditions.
Weed control in corn and rice was another topic covered during the field day. Dr. Bill Williams, a weed scientist at the Northeast Research Station, said "timing is everything" in controlling alligatorweed in rice.
"Mid-September to mid-October is the best time for control," Williams said.
Alligatorweed is an aquatic plant that forms dense mats of vegetation on or near the water surface. It can cause a lot of problems including decreased water flow.
In a final statement about the present status of Louisiana crops, Dr. Boyd Padgett, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist at the Macon Ridge Research Station, assured field day participants there is "no soybean rust" in the state.
"I’ve had numerous calls from producers and other people who’ve heard rumors rust was in Louisiana," Padgett said Wednesday (June 29). "But, as of right now, we do not have any rust."
Asian soybeam rust was found in early November 2004 by LSU AgCenter scientist Ray Schneider in a production field on the Ben Hur Research Farm near the LSU campus. This was the first discovery of the disease in North America.
To monitor for Asian soybean rust, LSU AgCenter researchers have planted numerous soybean sentinel plots throughout the state. Sentinel plots were planted prior to commercial plantings using soybeans from several different maturity groups. The plots are monitored frequently for signs of soybean rust. If rust is discovered in these plots, agents, producers, consultants and other people in the soybean industry will be notified immediately so that management plans can be implemented.
Meanwhile, farmers should not spray for rust until it is confirmed in the Mid-South, according to experts. If rust is found, then using a fungicide is recommended by the experts.
"We don’t know when we’ll see Asian soybean rust again," Padgett said. "We don’t know how it will react in Louisiana. There’s a lot we don’t know about this disease."
Padgett said producers should grow soybeans this year as they have in the past, despite this looming threat.
An Asian soybean rust training session and field tour are set for July 7 at the LSU AgCenter’s Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria. The meeting begins at 1 p.m. and features Dr. Tadashi Yorinori, one of the world’s leading authorities on Asian soybean rust.
For more information on agriculture and natural resources, as well as news on health issues, finances and more, go to www.lsuagcenter.com.
Ernie Clawson at (318) 766-4607 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Mascagni at (318) 766-3769 or email@example.com
Steve Moore at (318) 473-6520 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Boyd Padgett at (318) 435-2157or email@example.com
Charles Overstreet at (225) 578-2186 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Williams at (318) 766-3769 or email@example.com
A. Denise Coolman at (318) 547-0921 or firstname.lastname@example.org