AgCenter research station hosts industry-sponsored tour

Karol Osborne  |  7/23/2018 7:30:42 PM

(07/23/2018) ST. JOSEPH, La. — Industry-sponsored crop variety trials conducted at LSU AgCenter research stations provide multiple benefits for scientists, industry, retailers and local growers who rely on data-driven results for critical agricultural production decisions.

“The best decision is the most informed decision; that’s why this station is here,” said Donnie Miller coordinator of the AgCenter Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph.

Many AgCenter research stations across the state collaborate each year with major agricultural companies to showcase newly released and experimental crop varieties not yet released to the public.

Industry collaboration of this type allows producers to have the best information possible on newly released varieties in growing conditions they might experience on their farms, Miller said.

“It’s a triple win for us,” Miller said, adding that the station benefits with direct interaction through company breeders and access to the newest germplasm and technologies. Industry provides the seed, chemicals and technical assistance, and distributors and growers gain significant research data to maximize yield and profit.

Major industry players such as Monsanto and Bayer evaluate their crop varieties on the station under the direction of AgCenter experts who plant, manage and harvest the trial plots, he said.

“As researchers, we can observe the performance of newly released varieties and see what new technologies are coming down the pipeline. This provides us early and additional information that will go into future recommendations for our Louisiana stakeholders,” Miller said.

Local agricultural distributors also get a sneak peek of crop varieties in the field and are able to provide their clientele with the latest varietal performance ratings.

“Being able to work with the research station is so important,” said Monsanto district sales manager Davey Mize.

Monsanto recently sponsored a four-day field tour at the Northeast Research Station for about 120 salesmen and managers from retailer groups including Helena Chemical Co., Crop Production Services Inc., GreenPoint AG and Jimmy Sanders Inc.

Mize said the tour provides a vital opportunity for training, and the group was the largest he has seen during the past 10 years.

The tour featured about 32 corn, cotton and soybean market-development trials, showcasing products with high-volume quantities on the market now along with some new, first-year trials that will be introduced to the market next year, Mize said.

While industry-sponsored variety trial development is common on farms with grower cooperation, on-station trials can emphasize plot research work on a much more intense scale, he said.

The soil and growing conditions at the Northeast Research Station represent about 80 percent of the cropland in northeast Louisiana, Miller said.

Researchers can evaluate more varieties and technology introductions on-station, Mize said, and because the soil type is more representative of what is found on a large scale in the northeastern part of the state, growers will look to these results more closely.

Mize said he expects his product portfolio to increase as a result of the Monsanto-Bayer merger and would like to see collaborations with the Northeast Research Station increase.

Bayer will host an industry-sponsored tour at the Northeast Research Station in early September, Miller said.

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LSU AgCenter researcher Donnie Miller, right, and Monsanto district sales manager Davey Mize examine corn in a plot during a Monsanto-sponsored field tour at the AgCenter Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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