Vol. 47, No. 1
This issue of Louisiana Agriculture features articles on corn hybrids, aflatoxin in corn, integrating herbicides and insecticides in cotton, improving Brahman cattle for meat quality and more. 28 pages. Vol. 47, No. 3
Vol. 47, No. 4
Louisiana Agriculture Spring 2004, Vol. 47, No. 2, 40 pages
Our society has a strong interest in the green industry, defined as the production, sale and maintenance of ornamental plants and their allied goods and services. During the 1990s, consumers’ incomes increased significantly for most demographic groups. They used some of this income to improve their homes, including lawns and gardens.
Because fiber products are extremely perishable, it is rare to find examples of prehistoric textiles (fabrics) and cordage (yarns or strings) in Louisiana or other states in the Southeast. Yet, during construction of Interstate 55 near Lake Maurepas in South Louisiana in the mid-1970s, fragments of cordage dating back 3,000 years were recovered from the soil thrown up on the banks of the bayou when a dragline cut through the Bayou Jasmine site.
A biosecurity plan for the Aquaculture Research Station blossomed into a model for all LSU AgCenter research stations as a result of a national leadership program. The plan was developed by Terry Tiersch during his year as part of the ESCOP/ACOP Leadership Development Class.
The horse industry is alive and well in Louisiana. Purses for racing Thoroughbreds and quarter horses are high, and quality show horses are found in nearly every barn. Knowledge of horse owners and their ability to care for their animals is also increasing. Neurologic diseases and how to best prevent them continue to present challenges to our horses as well as their humans.
Cattle farmers are going back to school to learn how to improve their herds and possibly their income through the new Louisiana Master Cattle Producer program.
The focus of this issue is the nonruminant farm animal, which includes chickens, horses and pigs. The nonruminant animal has an uncomplicated or simple stomach as compared to the ruminant animal, which has a stomach with four compartments (cattle, sheep and goats). The nonruminant also is referred to as a monogastric.
Horse owners who have not had their animals vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis must do so, said LSU AgCenter veterinarian Dr. Steve Nicholson.
Somatotropin, also known as growth hormone, is a protein hormone produced and secreted by the pituitary gland of mammals. Somatotropin has several functions in the body, the most notable of which is growth of the long bones (for example, the femur of the thigh), which is achieved via stimulation of an intermediate hormone, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), from the liver.
Louisiana soybean producers are facing a new type of stink bug pest more difficult to control than the green and brown stinkbugs they are accustomed to fi ghting, said LSUAgCenter entomologist Jack Baldwin.
The 2003 agricultural statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicate that litter size per sow has increased over the past decade. As litter size increases, the sow must increase milk production so that the baby pigs can maintain a healthy growth rate. To produce milk, the sow must use a combination of nutrients derived from her diet and from the fat and protein stores in her body.
More than 120 hunters and other interested participants learned the do’s and don’ts of attracting doves at the LSUAgCenter’s first Dove Field Day on Aug.28, 2004, at the Idlewild Research Stationnear Clinton.
Phytate is a compound found in many common feed ingredients that decreases nutrient availability in animal diets. The main anti-nutritional effect of phytate is that it makes phytate phosphorus unavailable for digestion and absorption by nonruminants such as swine and poultry. Phytate also has negative effects on digestive enzymes, trace minerals, calcium, protein and amino acids, and carbohydrates.
Genetic selection of broiler chickens for production performance has been associated with changes in their behavior. Traits such as aggres-siveness, mating behavior, fearfulness (propensity to be easily frightened), feather pecking and sociality vary considerably within genetic strains. Many of these traits can exert profound effects on the welfare and productivity of farmed poultry because they influence the birds’ ability to adapt to their social and physical environment.
The poultry industry is the largest animal agricultural industry in Louisiana and is second only to forestry in total income produced by all agricultural commodities. Louisiana poultry growers produce almost 1 billion pounds of broiler meat each year. The size of the poultry industry in Louisiana has raised concerns about the management of large quantities of litter (mixture of poultry manure and bedding material).
More than 120 hunters and other interested participants learned the do’s and don’ts of attracting doves at the LSU AgCenter’s first Dove Field Day on Aug. 28, 2004, at the Idlewild Research Station near Clinton.
The LSU AgCenter’s Audubon Sugar Institute celebrated new facilities and a federal grant at an open house Aug. 31,2004.
Rice farmers soon will have two more weapons in their arsenals for fighting stink bugs and rice water weevils.
The salinity of ground water and surface water used for irrigation will always be a concern for Louisiana farmers. Analyses of long-term data on Red River water quality collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and of water samples collected by farmers and county agents and analyzed by the LSU AgCenter indicate the Red River can safely be used as a source of irrigation water.
When drought hit Louisiana in 2000 and 2001, along with the construction of a power plant in the heart of the rice-growing area, interest in water consumption reached a peak among farmers and other water consumers. To find out how much water was used and needed for rice production, a team of LSU AgCenter scientists and extension agents began a study.
In today’s changing global economy, traditional agricultural enterprises and industrial recruitment can no longer be depended on to bring jobs to rural Louisiana. Social and economic forces that once encouraged industry to relocate to the rural South now lure manufacturing out of the country.
Louisiana is known as a sportsman’s paradise and the bayou state. When people think Louisiana, they think cypress trees, alligators, seafood, fishing, hunting and trapping. The common thread that runs through all of these images is water.
A major objective of the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act is to evaluate, demonstrate and implement best management practices (BMPs) to improve water quality. Because applied agricultural chemicals and sediment are potential contributors to nonpoint-source pollution, it is essential to quantify each commodity’s contribution to water quality problems and evaluate BMPs that can improve water quality.
From the rich coastal waters along the Gulf of Mexico to the freshwater rivers, streams and lakes north of the coastal zone, water resources are an integral part of life in Louisiana. Historically, the challenges pertaining to water have been linked to flooding of developed areas caused by excessive rainfall or increased flow from the Mississippi River.
Because of the importance of environmental issues in Louisiana, the LSU AgCenter created a Watershed Education Initiative in 2001. Several extension faculty members were reassigned as watershed educators, and in 2002, the program was launched to assist in the conservation and restoration of the state’s aquatic ecosystems and protection of human health.
These articles appeared in the spring 2004 issue of Louisiana Agriculture
Groundbreaking for the Louisiana Emerging Technologies Center will be sometime in June, with completion expected the following spring, said Paula Jacobi, CEO of the LSU System Research and Technology Foundation, which will oversee the center.
LSU AgCenter scientists have joined with scientists from the LSU Wetland Biogeochemistry Institute and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a research project to determine and demonstrate which soybean tillage practices are most effective in reducing pollution. Reducing the amount of runoff from soybean fields means less sediment, fertilizer and pesticide entering local waterways.
LSU AgCenter research teams are evaluating water quality in the Cole Gully area on the Bayou Plaquemine-Brule in Acadia Parish and in Bayou Wikoff north of Lafayette. Each study area comprises a watershed identified and selected by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
Increased water demand in the face of an essentially fixed fresh water supply and increased pollution of existing supplies by inadequately treated waste discharge have been identified as problems in Louisiana. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of treating contaminated water such as municipal wastewater with a by-product of tree nut production in Louisiana, namely, pecan shells.
Louisiana’s coastal waters, lakes, rivers and bayous are the lifeblood of the state. They have provided economic survival and year-round recreation, earning the state the well-deserved title of “Sportsman’s Paradise.”
Two sweet potato varieties developed by the LSU AgCenter recently were awarded U.S. patents – the first ones given to sweet potatoes.
Aquaculture operations worldwide have come under scrutiny because of potential environmental degradation caused by the discharge of water from production facilities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing aquaculture as an industry for regulatory activity. Most of Louisiana’s 129,000 acres of crawfish ponds are located in southwestern and south central Louisiana in water basins identified by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) as impaired.
Louisiana is naturally blessed with an abundance of bayous, rivers, lakes and aquifers. While the state has more surface water available (84 percent) than any other state in the United States, rapid urbanization and intensive agricultural and forestry practices have increased the potential for deterioration of the quality of the state’s surface waters.
Atrazine is a herbicide commonly used for the control of broadleaf weeds in corn, grain sorghum, sugarcane and turfgrass. Although widely used in Louisiana since the early 1960s, atrazine has recently become the center of controversy in south central Louisiana.
David J. Boethel, former associate vice chancellor at the LSU AgCenter, became vice chancellor for research and director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station effective April 19.
In January 2001, the LSU AgCenter offered the first Louisiana Master Farmer training session in Vermilion Parish. More than 60 producers attended to become more knowledgeable about Louisiana environmental regulations, specifically water quality and nonpoint-source standards.
Richard Latiolais gazed over the emerald field of an emerging wheat crop near Palmetto in St. Landry Parish.“This is all fresh ground,” he said. “We precision-leveled it last summer.” He is a participant in the LSU AgCenter's Master Farmer Program directed by Carrie Mendoza.
Because the land is so flat, water flow in Bayou Plaquemine Brule and its tributaries, including Cole Gully, is sluggish and reaeration potential is low. Consequently, inputs of oxygen-depleting materials, such as dissolved or suspended organic material or ammonical nitrogen, are expected to aggravate this naturally oxygen-poor condition.
Researchers at the LSU AgCenter’s Macon Ridge Research Station at Winnsboro have found a way to irrigate their fields during the summer without resorting to pumping water from wells. They’ve created a 16-acre pond they fill with surface water during the winter and use for irrigation in the summer.
The Board of Regents and the LSU Board of Supervisors recently approved the establishment of the Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy at the LSU AgCenter.
Tenderness is a major determinant of our enjoyment in eating beef and is based on two factors, said Kenneth McMillin, professor of meat science in the Department of Animal Sciences. Connective tissue, which changes with an animal’s age and type of muscle, is a primary factor, while physical attributes, including the length of the muscle fibers and their relative density also affect tenderness.
Several new food products or ingredients have been identified as contributing to human health. Including such ingredients in manufactured dairy products would improve their health-giving benefits. LSU AgCenter researchers are testing how the incorporation of these health-beneficial ingredients in dairy products affects physico-chemical and sensory characteristics.
There are 215 million acres of timberland in the southern United States and nearly 30 percent are southern pine forests. Loblolly pine is the most extensively planted commercial pine species in the South. In Louisiana, the growing volume of loblolly pine forests is nearly 7 billion cubic feet.
Few people know crawfish come in several colors besides the traditional red or brown. Ray McClain, crawfish researcher at the LSU AgCenter's Rice Research Station in Crowley, said he had heard of pure white and has seen a few sky-blue crawfish over the years.
Stripe rust, a fungal disease, has begun causing problems for Louisiana wheat growers. And LSU AgCenter researchers are developing a disease forecasting system to try to head off an epidemic.
The introduction of glyphosate-resistant transgenic (Roundup Ready) technology has offered an alternative for control of troublesome weeds in cotton, soybean and corn. One drawback to this technology is that “volunteer” Roundup Ready crop plants originating from seed produced the previous crop year have become “weeds.”
Howard Cormier, county agent for rice and sugarcane in Vermilion Parish, waded into a rice field near Gueydan to get a firsthand look at weeds in the fledgling crop.“I see duck salad, sesbania, paspalum. Here’s some bull’s tongue.”
A big hurdle to increased corn production in Louisiana is aflatoxin, a byproduct of a fungal infection that generally occurs in drought-stressed corn. And Steve Moore, a researcher at the LSU AgCenter’s Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria, is trying to find a remedy.
Nearly 80 visitors attended the inaugural nursery, landscape and floriculture open house at the new ornamental and turfgrass research facility at the LSU AgCenter's Burden Center in Baton Rouge on April 23.
Aflatoxin is a highly carcinogenic contaminant produced in corn grain infected with Aspergillus flavus fungus. Aflatoxin is especially widespread in Louisiana when high temperatures and drought conditions prevail during the grain-filling period.
LSU AgCenter researchers had nearly $1.4 million in proposals approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents in the 2004 competition."We fared well under these competitive conditions," said David Boethel, vice chancellor and director of research.
The cotton disease called “bronze wilt” (it gives the leaves a copper color and they wilt) was first observed in Louisiana and Mississippi in 1995. While losses in Mississippi were minimal, the disease caused yield reduction in some Louisiana cotton fields.
Research on livestock reproduction has been given a boost through the expansion and remodeling of one of the country's top facilities - the LSU AgCenter's Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory.
The Brahman breed has contributed much to the commercial cow-calf industry in Louisiana and the Southeastern United States because of its adaptability to subtropical conditions. The breed also contributes to hybrid vigor when crossed with Angus and Hereford breeds. Recent evidence suggests that beef from cattle with a high percentage Brahman parentage has lower marbling and is less tender on average than beef from other breeds.
Before the availability of transgenic technology in cotton, weed management programs consisted of herbicide applications to the soil at planting followed by multiple herbicide applications directed underneath the crop in combination with tillage to control emerged weeds. Today, weeds are managed with over-the-top applications.
Corn yield and seed quality depend on management, climate and the interaction of these factors. In Louisiana in recent years, lack of rain combined with high temperatures have caused yields to suffer.
The projected Louisiana gross farm value of forest products decreased in 2003. The 2003 total sawlog harvest fell by more than 111 million board feet (9.5%) to a cut of 1,116,383,390 board feet.
In Louisiana, southern green stink bugs and brown stink bugs have become common pests of corn, cotton, grain sorghum, soybean and wheat. In corn, an infestation can cause injury to the plant from seedling emergence through ear formation and grain development. Seedlings punctured by stink bugs exhibit small holes surrounded by localized dead tissue.
Although prehistoric textile remains have been recovered in South Louisiana from Avery Island (Iberia Parish) and Bayou Jasmine (St. John the Baptist Parish), no examples of prehistoric footwear or bags are known from Louisiana. However, European accounts and illustrations of Louisiana natives indicate their use here, and examples have been found in dry caves and bluff shelters in Arkansas and Missouri.
Scores of turtles slipped off their feeders and disappeared under the water as Keith Boudreaux approached his turtle pond near Ponchatoula, La.“We feed them Purina Turtle Chow,” Boudreaux says of the estimated 10,000 turtles in the 2-acre pond.
Two of the LSU AgCenter’s researchers died during 2003—William Hallmark, professor of agronomy at the Iberia Research Station, and Michael Perich, an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology.
Although the sugarcane harvest season often stretches past New Year’s, Louisiana mills finished processing the 2003 harvest on Dec. 28.“For the most part, it was a relatively good harvest season,” said Ben Legendre, sugarcane specialist with the LSU AgCenter’s Sugar Research Station at St. Gabriel.
Market channels used by wholesale nursery growers in Louisiana have changed. Traditionally, growers sold their products to garden centers, hardware stores, feed and seed stores, landscapers and re-wholesalers. Although landscapers and re-wholesalers continue to be important sales outlets, retailers are the market component where dynamic change has occurred. Mass merchandisers (either general merchandise or home center) have replaced garden centers as the dominant type of retailer. Overall, this
Farmers using BASF’s NewPath herbicide and Clearfield 161 rice have seen remarkable results controlling yield-choking red rice weeds this year.
Weed and insect pests perpetually cause problems for Louisiana farmers. In addition to their individual effects, insects, weeds and their management practices can interact. Uncontrolled weeds can serve as alternate hosts for insect pests.
Stalk borers are becoming more of a problem in corn, grain sorghum and rice fields in Louisiana. The most common insect borer species found in these crops include the southwestern corn borer, the sugarcane borer and the European corn borer.
Stalk borers are becoming more of a problem in corn, grain sorghum and rice fields in Louisiana. The most common insect borer species found in these crops include the southwestern corn borer (Figure 1), the sugarcane borer (Figure 2) and the European corn borer (Figure 3). Although these borers cause severe damage to corn and grain sorghum, only the sugarcane borer and European corn borer have been observed recently at damaging levels in rice fields in Louisiana. Increased adoption of minimum ti
Louisiana forage producers can plant a new variety of bermudagrass that has proved to outproduce traditional varieties in Coastal Plain soils, said W.D. “Buddy” Pitman, LSU AgCenter researcher at the Rosepine Research Station. The new variety is named Little Phillip after the grandson of one of its discoverers, Clyde Sneed of Florien, La., who first observed the plant growing in his Alicia bermudagrass field in 1991.