Louisiana Agriculture spring 2009
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.
The LSU AgCenter has the most successful record of commercialization of intellectualproperty within the LSU System and, in fact, within higher education in Louisiana. Since 2000, nine new companies have been started based on licensing technology from the AgCenter.
Managing crops on the loess soils of the Midsouth is difficult because they contain little organic matter and erode easily. Generally, these fields are small compared to delta alluvial fields; however, they often have considerable variability in soil texture. The variability is often created by land-leveling for irrigation and drainage. Variability presents producers with an opportunity to manage these problems in a site-specific manner.
Although he may be known to the culinary world as a leading New Orleans chef, John Besh also is a leading proponent of serving locally grown foods in his four restaurants.
In the 1970s, actor Bill Saluga used the line: “You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay. . .” When talking about Louisiana sweet potatoes or yams, there seems to be a similar confusion.
Why do people eat sweet potatoes? Because they are sweet! A new variety, Evangeline, just released by the LSU AgCenter, will satisfy those who want a really sweet sweet potato.
With flu in the news, it’s a good idea to reassure your children you’re going to keep them as safe as possible. This is advice from two LSU AgCenter family life specialists, Diane Sasser and Becky White
The LSU AgCenter Sweet Potato Research Station is the only research stationin the United States devoted solely to sweet potato research and development.
Sweet potatoes are susceptible to Rhizopus soft rot, a disease caused by a common fungus that can destroy sweet potatoes after they are removed from storage and washed but before they arrive at the market.
Weeds compete with sweet potato plants for nutrients, water and sunlight and impair crop yield and quality, making effective weed management a critical aspect to successful production.
The LSU AgCenter announced the appointment of Mark LeBlanc as head of the Department of AgriculturalChemistry effective April 1, 2009.
Commercially produced sweet potatoes in Louisiana are most often harvested using a two-row mechanical chain harvester,more commonly known as a two-row sweet potato digger.With this method, roots are exposed and then conveyed along a chain, where workers on each side of the equipment sort the roots into various grades
The majority of sweet potatoes consumedin the United States are purchased through retail fresh market outlets. They have traditionally been marketed in the form of individual roots stacked in bulk displays and priced per pound.
The LSU AgCenter Pecan Research-ExtensionStation in Shreveport will not be affectedby the alignment of Interstate 69 in southern Caddo Parish after all, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportationand Development (DOTD).