Farmers Dan Bedgood and Erick Cherene of Madison Parish have a quick answer when asked to describe the upcoming 2007 growing season in North Louisiana. “A lot of corn,” they say in unison.
The farming partners were among more than 200 people who attended the LSU AgCenter Corn and Soybean Forum on Feb. 13, 2007, at the Rayville Civic Center.
Bedgood and Cherene said they planted 1 ,000 acres of corn in 2006, but they will plant up to 4,000 acres of corn this year. They still plan to have some acreage in soybeans and cotton, but they said they’re not sure how much of those they’ll plant.
“For sure, less cotton,” Bedgood said.
LSU AgCenter county agent Keith Collins of Richland Parish said last year’s Louisiana corn acreage of more than 300,000 acres could double this year, and the state’s soybean acreage of 830,000 acres is projected to remain static – although Collins said he expects Northeast Louisiana farmers to have an increase in soybeans.
Last year’s state average soybean yield set a record with 35 bushels an acre.
LSU AgCenter grain specialist David Lanclos said with higher commodity prices, corn farmers will be considering fungicides, even though fungal diseases on a corn crop typically do not have devastating effects on yields like the diseases on rice and soybeans. He said research results are mixed concerning whether fungicides can help corn yields.
“We are not recommending fungicides be applied on corn this year,” Lanclos said. “But I encourage you to try some on a few acres and leave some untreated test strips for comparison.”
(This article was published in the winter 2007 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)