Greenhouse tomatoes, constructed wetland topics at Red River Field Day

John Buckley, Hayes, James A., Micinski, Stephen, Stewart, Sandy, Cookson, Colleen, Millhollon, Eddie P., Hanna, Hanna Y., Padgett, Guy B.  |  7/1/2008 12:48:56 AM

News Release Distributed 07/01/08

Greenhouse tomatoes and a constructed wetland were two of the topics covered at a recent field day and open house at the LSU AgCenter’s Red River Research Station in Bossier City.

The June 18 event also highlighted research projects at the station on agronomic crops including corn, cotton, wheat, sorghum and soybeans.

With salmonella in tomatoes a hot topic, Dr. Hanna Y. Hanna, greenhouse tomato expert at the station, said that was not a problem at the station.

“We grow them in a soil-less media in a greenhouse with a concrete floor. They taste good,” he said.

Growing food in greenhouses is becoming more popular, Hanna said. For example, they’re appearing on tops of buildings in England and will appear in basements with special bulbs in the future.

“I think greenhouses are the wave of the future for high-value crops,” he said.

Seed treatment on corn has created interest in the past several years, said Dr. Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist. He said seed treatments are convenient because no calibration is involved. An in-furrow or hopper-box treatment requires calibration of the hoppers and frequent stops to check and refill the hopper, which is more time-consuming.

One of the seed treatments being tested in AgCenter research is Avicta on corn. The study is now in its second year.

“If you see a benefit, it will be for root-knot nematode control,” Padgett said.

Jim Hayes, research associate, addressed corn, wheat, soybean, sorghum and oat variety trials, explaining that these provide information on the yield potential of the different varieties to help farmers select the best variety.

“The 2008 wheat crop was very good and disease was minimal,” Hayes said. “The northern portion of the state had exceptionally high yields.”

Dr. Blair Buckley, LSU AgCenter associate professor, is developing soybean varieties resistant to diseases peculiar to Louisiana. A disease of importance to growers late in the season is Cercospora leaf blight.

"Leaf blight is of concern because fungicides have not been effective," Buckley said.

There are 16 locations for on-farm cotton variety trials, said Dr. Sandy Stewart, LSU AgCenter cotton specialist. Two are in Northwest Louisiana (the Red River Station and Gilliam), and attempts are being made to generate as much data as possible in a single year.

Steve Micinski, associate professor, and Colleen Cookson, research associate, discussed early season thrips control.

“There are several species of thrips that will attack cotton,” said Cookson.

Tobacco thrips make up about 90 percent of the thrips on seedling cotton. Excessive thrips feeding causes delayed maturity, stand loss and reduced yield, she said.

“Wind plays an important role in their dispersal into cotton fields and continual reinfestation,” she said. “The larval instar stages cause the most damage.”

"Temik does a good job on thrips control," Micinski said. Micinski’s study looks at Aeris and Avicta seed treatments applied alone and in combination with Temik. He said adding Temik to Aeris and Avicta this year in his trial did not improve thrips control.

“That may not always be the case. You have to scout your cotton,” Micinski said.

Water quality was the last topic on the tour. Dr. Eddie Millhollon reported that the constructed wetland at the Red River Station, which intercepts agricultural runoff before it reaches the Flat River, has reduced phosphorus by 51 percent and total nitrogen by 56 percent. Total suspended solids were reduced by 88 percent.

“We’re very pleased with this project,” he said.

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Contacts: Hanna Y. Hanna at (318) 741-7430, or hhanna@agcenter.lsu.edu

Boyd Padgett at (318) 435-2157, or bpadgett@agcenter.lsu.edu

Jim Hayes at (318) 741-7430, or jhayes@agcenter.lsu.edu

Blair Buckley at (318) 741-7430, or bbuckley@agcenter.lsu.edu

Sandy Stewart at (318) 473-6522, or stewart@agcenter.lsu.edu

Steve Micinski at (318) 741-7430, or smicinski@agcenter.lsu.edu

Colleen Cookson at (318) 741-7430, or ccookson@agcenter.lsu.edu

Eddie Millhollon at (318) 741-7430, or emillhollon@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or mvanosdell@agcenter.lsu.edu

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