Donnie Miller, Van Osdell, Mary Ann | 6/21/2007 12:28:36 AM
ST. JOSEPH – Progress is being made in evaluating and incorporating new technologies to reduce aflatoxin contamination in Louisiana corn fields, and research is being conducted on nematodes and corn hybrid testing, participants learned at the LSU AgCenter’s annual field day at the Northeast Research Station here Wednesday (June 13).
The program highlighted agronomic and pest management research with cotton, soybeans, corn and rice on Sharkey clay and silt loam soils.
"Aflatoxin is near No. 1 in our production concerns for corn in the Southeast United States," said Dr. Ken Damann, professor in the LSU AgCenter’s Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology.
The LSU AgCenter has three research programs looking at reducing aflatoxin in corn--genetic, chemical and biological control. The closest to release is in genetic control, in cooperation with the University of Illinois.
"This first generation of commercial hybrids has a good, competitive yield and aflatoxin resistance," said Damann.
"The current levels of nematode in many farmers’ fields have reached the highest population densities we have ever experienced, and the number of infested fields has increased," said AgCenter entomologist Gene Burris. "This pest has our attention."
Research indicates it is time to replace the older treatment standards with a new standard for chemical measurements. One that has consistently increased yield more than all others is Telone II, a fumigant, said Burris.
Participants were told boll weevils have been reduced by 60 percent through May 14 compared to the same period last year.
Dr. Steve Moore of the LSU AgCenter’s Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria told the 100 in attendance that corn hybrid testing is providing producers with "good, unbiased data. There is a tremendous difference on what’s recommended on loam and what’s recommended on clay," he said.
LSU AgCenter Chancellor William Richardson said the field day is one of the highlights of the year for the AgCenter. "This is your research station, your tax dollars," he said. "Come back any time and talk to these folks about what you’re doing and take it back to your operation."
Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Odom was also in attendance. "It is good to work in a state with the relationship we’ve got with LSU," Odom said.
"Agriculture is the backbone of the economy in Northeast Louisiana," said Dr. Robert Hutchinson, the LSU AgCenter’s northeast region director. Farmers in the 11 parishes of Northeast Louisiana produced about 83 percent of the state’s cotton, 80 percent of the corn, 60 percent of the soybeans, 36 percent of the grain sorghum, 20 percent of the rice and 13 percent of the beef cattle, he said.
The last significant rainfall in the area was May 3. "Corn got off to an excellent start, but we are hurting for rain," he said. "Cotton got off to a really good start."
Hutchinson said he is proud of the support of local governing bodies and the state legislative delegation. The station was established in 1929 by the police juries of the 11-parish Northeast Louisiana region. He said farmers and seed and agrichemical companies are very supportive of the research program.
Dr. David Boethel, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research, said the Northeast station has conducted research programs that have resulted in new knowledge and technologies for enabling the sustainability of the agricultural enterprises in all of Louisiana.