The biofuel industry has expanded tremendously over the past decade. LSU AgCenter scientists are conducting research on a wide variety of crops that can be turned into fuel. This issue of the magazine includes the latest results on use of sugarcane, sweet sorghum, switchgrass, algae, Chinese tallow and more. Please contact Linda Benedict, the editor, if you would like a back issue.
Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Summer 2009 (in PDF form)
Louisiana Agriculture spring 2009
Louisiana Agriculture winter 2009 web.pdf
The LSU AgCenter’s Rice Research Station in Crowley, La., is celebrating a century of operation in 2009, making it the oldest facility of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
View more photos of birds that are summer breeders in Louisiana.
Few things symbolize Louisiana culture and cuisine like a festive crawfish boil. Wild crawfish are harvested each year from the vast Atchafalaya River Basin, and approximately 184,000 acresof culture ponds in Louisiana are used to produce more than 100 million pounds of live crawfish annually.
View more photos of birds that migrate through Louisiana on their way northward.
For more than 15 years, Zhijun Liu with the School of Renewable Natural Resources has been investigating plants for medicinal properties. He started by looking at plants that traditionally have been used as folk remedies to treat diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer.
During 2007, significant foliage loss and stem injury on soybean seedlings were observed in research trials and production fields within Franklin Parish. The cause was an insect confirmed as the pea leaf weevil.
News articles in the summer 2009 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.
Photos of more birds used in the study in the article "West Nile Virus and Louisiana Birds."
View more photos of the birds that are year-round residents of Louisiana.
View more photos of birds that are winter residents of Louisiana.
Understanding basic biological characteristics of economically important insect pests is essential for developing integrated pest management (IPM) programs. The tarnished plant bug is one of these pests.
While the pharmaceutical industry searches for single-entity drugs that target angiogenesis, many efforts have also been made to search for anti-angiogenic agents from botanical sources based on their medicinal-use records. LSU AgCenter researchers have identified a number of such botanical agents. One that has shown great promise is Chinese sweet leaf tea.
West Nile virus is a mosquito-transmitted virus that cycles in nature primarily between mosquitoes and birds. It was first detected in the United States in 1999 and in Louisiana in 2001. This article looks at the birds that carry the disease.
In the past four years Louisiana farmers have planted and harvested record-breaking amounts of corn, soybeans and sorghum – so much that the state’s storage capacity could not handle it all.
The fall armyworm is a common insect pest of field corn in Louisiana and other states across the South. Conventional chemical control strategies used to manage the fall armyworm in corn generally provide inconsistent results because the larvae feed within the whorls of vegetative-stage plants or on immature grain in corn ears.
Development of rice varieties helps guarantee continued rice production in Louisiana and in the United States. Release of improved varieties by public breeding programs in Louisiana,Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and California, in conjunction with advancements in rice production technology, has provided a continuous increase in rice production and quality.
The cotton industry in Louisiana has seen major structural changes in a short time. Total cotton production was reduced by almost 75 percent between 2005 and 2008. This article explores the future of the cotton industry.
Fungicides are used to manage diseases in many field crops grown in Louisiana.Until recently, this practice has not been evaluated on corn produced in the state.
Louisiana shares attributes with other states and countries that border the Gulf of Mexico, including Mexico. Louisiana’s coastal landscape has been uniquely shaped by the Mississippi River over millennia.
Zachary Cecil, a 4-H’er from Vernon Parish, rode on the side of a boat one morning during Marsh Maneuvers camp at Avery Island, La.
From poultry feed to pesticides and from fertilizer to food, the Department of Agricultural Chemistry, which is a joint effort between the LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, provides analytical support for regulatory activities, research and agricultural extension work.
More than a dozen LSU AgCenter scientists met with two members of the U.S.House Committee on Agriculture Aug. 12 to describe their research to identify appropriate plants as sources of feedstocks to produce biofuels, as well as the technology to convert the plants into ethanol or biodiesel.
What do a police officer, an Olympianand a fighter pilot have in common?In this case, they’re all master horsemen.In March 2009, nearly 20 horse enthusiasts,including a National Guard pilot, alocal police officer and a former Olympicequestrian gathered at Farr Horse Park inBaton Rouge for a three-hour session –the last of their eight-class course in horsetraining.
Ken McMillin, professor of animal sciences and food science at the LSU AgCenter and at LSU, has been awarded the 2009 American Meat Science Association Signal Service Award.
LSU AgCenter scientists played a key role in helping to entice ConAgra Foods to locate a new sweet potato processing plant to northeast Louisiana.
Production practices influence grain sorghum yield, and research has found a consistent sorghum yield response to row widths narrower than 40 inches, particularly on alluvial soils – those created by sediment deposited by flowing water.
A new technology developed by an LSU AgCenter researcher has serendipitously found its way into the oil industry, resulting in a new company and the re-invigoration of an existing company in Louisiana.
The LSU AgCenter Louisiana Outdoor Science and Technology (LOST)Camp is a 4-H program aimed at encouraging seventh and eighth grade students to consider careers in science and technology.
The first U.S.-bred Jasmine-type aromatic rice variety named Jazzman has been developed at the LSU AgCenter’s Rice Research Station and released in 2009.
As more than 3 billion quart-size, high-density polyethylene motor oil containers head for U.S. landfills each year, LSU AgCenter researchers are looking for ways to keep them out.
Silicon, a common element in our daily lives, generally exists in nature as silicon dioxide – or silica. Silicon is a major constituent of glass, ceramics and computer chips. It is also something that can affect the growth of rice.
David Boethel, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter, received the Distinguished Service Award at the Tri-State Soybean Forum held in January 2009 in Oak Grove.
Gene Reagan, LSU AgCenter entomologist, has been studying the Mexican rice borer’s spread northward from the Rio Grande Valley for almost 30 years.
The Louisiana Legislature created the Dairy Producers’ Refundable Tax Credit Program in 2007.
One of the most important practices in drill-seeded, delayed-flood rice production is the timely application of the pre-flood nitrogen fertilizer.
News stories from the winter 2009 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.
Twenty faculty and staff received the top awards for 2008 at the LSU AgCenter Annual Conference Dec. 15-16 in Baton Rouge.
Irrigation is an important part of many crop production systems in northeast Louisiana.The amount of irrigation a crop requires is affected by the rate at which that crop uses water.
Mastitis is one of the most common and most expensive diseases of dairy cattle in the world. One-third of all dairy cows are estimated to have mastitis.
Researchers at the LSU AgCenter’s Audubon Sugar Institute in St. Gabriel, La., are combining their knowledge of sugarcane processing with chemical engineering to develop a synergy between sugar production and ethanol.
The growing season in southwest Louisiana is long enough to produce two rice crops. The second rice crop is known by several names including stubble and ratoon.
Growing roses in Louisiana is a challenge for industry professionals and home gardeners. A major problem in production and the landscape enjoyment of roses is disease pressure (primarily blackspot and powdery mildew) brought on by environmental conditions of the region.
Creeping rivergrass is an aquatic perennial grass that affects approximately 10,000 acres of rice in Acadian, Vermilion and Jefferson Davis parishes in south Louisiana.
Mastitis – an infection and inflammation of a cow’s udder – is one of the most common and costly diseases in the dairy industry. Therefore, mastitis control should be a continuous process in all dairy herds.
Mycoplasma mastitis is a unique form of mastitis, which is an inflammation of a cow’s udder. Mycoplasma species differ from the majority of bacteria that cause mastitis by having unique growth requirements and physical characteristics that make them difficult to detect and treat once detected.
The decline in number of dairy farms in Louisiana led the state legislature to pass Act 461 in the 2007 legislative session. This act created the Louisiana Dairy Refundable Tax Credit Program (LDRTCP).
Predicted trends in the early 1990s indicated weed control would shift to genetically altered plants with high levels of tolerance to key herbicides. These predictions proved valid, and the vast majority of Louisiana cotton acreage today is devoted to glyphosate-resistant technology.
Roundup Ready soybeans, resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, and Clearfield rice, resisant to the herbicides imazethapyr (Newpath) and imazamox (Beyond), are often grown adjacent to fields of rice varieties susceptible to the herbicides used in these cropping systems. This creates a great potential for damage to rice from the off-target movement of these herbicides.
Herbicide drift often occurs when it is least expected during a still, calm morning, according to Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed specialist.
B. Rogers Leonard, the Jack Hamilton Chair of Cotton Production at the LSU AgCenter’s Macon Ridge Research Station in Winnsboro, has been chosen for the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Pecans are a possible feedstock for the biodiesel industry. Pecan nuts contain a high amount of fatty acid well-suited for biodiesel production. Given their high value as a foodstuff, the nuts are too valuable to be crushed for oil. However, a significant acreage of pecans is not harvested as food because of disease and insect damage.
Biofuels generally are defined as fuels produced from recently derived organic matter versus fossil fuels, which are derived from ancient organic matter. In either case, solar energy is the original energy source. Concerns about increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide released from burning fossilized carbon, mixed with the desire to secure national energy supplies, have driven research on alternative fuels.
Making biodiesel fuel from vegetableoil or animal fat is a simple process. Rudolph Diesel used raw vegetable oil when he invented the first diesel engine in Augsburg, Germany, in 1893.
LSU AgCenter researchers are investigating production of biodiesel, which has received worldwide attention as a renewable transportation fuel and blending agent.
The biofuel industry in the United States has expanded tremendously over the past decade. Consumption of biofuels has increased faster than any other energy source in recent years.
Switchgrass has many characteristics that make it a desirable cellulosic ethanol feedstock. Switchgrass can be grown with minimal fertilization, and it produces high yields even on marginal soils. It is highly tolerant of flooding and drought and has the potential to produce 1,000 gallons of ethanol per acre, which compares favorably with corn and sugarcane.
The federal mandate for energy security through the development of sustainable biofuels has revived interest in sweet sorghum as a renewable energy crop.
MarketMaker will boost Louisiana agriculture, LSU AgCenter gets $518,000 for blueberry Web site, West Carroll students use technology to improve safety, 10 schools get started with Louisiana 4-H Seeds for Service, Valverde's photo selected for virology journal, TGRx gets first $30 million contract
Biodiesel, a biofuel derived from vegetable and animal fats, burns more cleanly than conventional diesel in modern diesel engines. It also provides superior lubricity and reduces our dependenceon fossil fuels.
Using biomass as an alternative to petroleum-based products for fuel has attracted interest because of its biodegradable nature and renewable properties.
TransGenRx (TGRx) – a biotechnology company started by licensing technology from the LSU AgCenter – has landed its first contract worth $30 million.
The Journal of General Virology, a prestigious international journal of virus research published by the Society for General Microbiology in the United Kingdom, has selected a photo from Rodrigo Valverde, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology, for its October 2009 cover.
Three West Carroll Parish high school students learned enough sophisticated computer technology that they were able to create digital fire district maps, which will be used to improve local services in the parish.
Despite successful production and use of vegetable oil-based biodiesels, the contribution of these alternative fuels (including virgin oil, used cooking oil and animal fat) to the overall transportation fuel scenario is fractional at best. Biodiesel production accounts for about 1 percent of the 50-60 billion gallons of diesel needed annually in the United States.
The LSU AgCenter’s W.A. Callegari Environmental Center has established a well-equipped laboratory to perform biodieselquality control analyses for a nominal charge.
The Chinese tallow tree is perhaps the most promising oilseed crop adapted to the humid South and capable of producing a sufficient supply of feedstock to meet the needs of the U.S. biodiesel industry. The Chinese tallow tree is an introduced species that grows rapidly, spreads profusely and has become naturalized along the Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 is a comprehensive energy-policy law passed by Congress with the primary purpose of increasing energy efficiency and the availability of renewable energy in the United States.
Students at Warren Easton High School in New Orleans along with 10 other schools around the state really know what it means to get down and dirty, thanks to a $25,000 grant secured by the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development office.
To help celebrate National 4-H Week in 2009, which was Oct. 4-10, Louisiana 4-H members joined millions of other 4-H’ers across the nation in participating in a science and technology project.
You can make your own fuel to run in diesel engines for a fraction of what regular petroleum diesel costs. In fact, most people making biodiesel are making it for about $1 a gallon.
The LSU AgCenter, along with a Mississippi agriculture agency and three other southern universities, has been awarded a $518,000 grant to develop an interactive, educational Web site about blueberries.
Louisiana’s agriculture and seafood industries will have a new marketing tool in early 2010 when MarketMaker, a national Internet-driven service, is inauguratedin the state.
Hydrogen is an appealing energy carrier because of its potential for using the most plentiful resources – water and sunlight– to power one of the most environmentally clean reactions, 2H2O = 2H2 + O2 , in which two water molecules yield two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule.
Through hydrothermal processing, plant biomass can be converted into energy and petrochemical products. Hydrothermal treatment involves a chemical reaction conducted in water, which has been heated and pressurized in the absence of dissolved oxygen.
Biorefinery technology is a term coined in the 1990s to describe the fabrication of fuels, solvents, chemicals and plastics from renewable materials. By 2020, the United States is aiming to have at least 25 percent of organic-carbon-based industrial chemicals and 10 percent of liquid fuels from a bio-based industry.
Sweet potatoes are regarded as one of the most nutritious vegetable crops. They are known to be an excellent source of vitamin A (orange-flesh types) and dietary fiber and contain significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitaminB9 (folate) and various minerals.
Ornamental sweet potatoes have gained considerable interest among land¬scape industry professionals and home gardeners over the past 10 years. Varieties include plants that are chartreuse-lime green (Margarita), blackish purple (Blackie) and tricolored (Pink Frost).
In 2007, the LSU AgCenter started a verification program for sweet potatoes, similar to the programs for rice, soybean and corn. These verification programs are conducted in collaboration with growers to test AgCenter recommendations.
Sustainable and profitable commercial sweet potato productionrequires optimum nitrogen fertilizer. Although sweet potatoes can be grown in marginal production environments, a certain amount of nitrogen is necessary for normal shoot development and photosynthetic activity required for storage-root growth.
David Morrison, LSU AgCenter assistantvice chancellor for research, received the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors Excellence in Leadership Award in mid-April during the association’s meeting in Puerto Rico.
Two new long-grain rice varieties could be released by the LSU AgCenter this year if they continue to show solid results, according to Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder.
Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, works at the new weed science building on the South Farm of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station near Crowley.
Finding new uses for sweet potato components, such as starch, would increasethe demand for sweet potatoes and save processors money by finding a use for the waste produced during cutting and canning.
Change is going on in the sweet potato industry. The variety Beauregard, released by the AgCenter in 1987 and hailed as one of the best and most popularsweet potatoes, is being replaced in part by two new varieties – Evangeline, released by the LSU AgCenter in 2007, and Covington, a 2005 release from North Carolina.
A sweet potato crop is vegetatively propagated, which means it is grown by bedding storage roots and subsequently transplanting vine cuttings into productionfields from the resulting sprouts.
News articles from the spring 2009 issue of Louisiana Agriculture
Sweet potatoes, like many commodities, are marketedin a variety of ways, and not all sweet potatoes are identical.
Several insects feed on the foliage and roots of sweet potatoes throughout the growing season. The sweet potato root can be injured by several soil insects,including sweetpotato weevils, rootworms, sugarcane beetles, wireworms,whitefringed beetles, white grubs and flea beetles.
There was a time in Chris Clark’s life that sweet potatoes made a one-time annual appearance – the Thanksgiving table. Little did he know that this delicious, nutritious menu item would help define his career.
The development of high-yielding and delicious sweet potato varieties beganright here in Louisiana more than 70 years ago. The late Julian C. Miller and others at the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station discovered how to induce flowering and seed set by trellisingsweet potato vines onto fences.