In this article:
|2017 Louisiana Soybean & Grain Research and Promotion Board Report|
|2017 Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board-funded projects|
|AgCenter scientist looks at management of corn diseases|
|AgCenter scientist works to develop sprayer cleanout solution|
|Agronomist studies effects of desiccants on soybean harvest|
|Cover crop trials ongoing at several AgCenter sites|
|Cultural and fertility practices evaluated in southwest Louisiana soybeans|
|Effective sodium nitrite encapsulation could be key to managing feral hogs|
|Farmers can benefit from research examining double cropping wheat and soybeans|
|Fertilizer research examines proper rates of minerals for corn, soybean rotation|
|Fumigant shows promise in combating nematodes|
|Protein discovery could improve soybean response to Cercospora|
|Researcher seeks to control stink bugs without increasing soybean loopers|
|Schneider and Levy leave AgCenter posts|
|Scientist studies soybean production in fallow sugarcane systems|
|Scientists working to improve irrigation practices|
|Soil amendments, helpful bacteria may improve soybean plant health|
|Study compares corn yield loss with incremental defoliation|
|Unmanned aerial vehicles a new tool for scouting fields|
|Variety trials still play a crucial role in producers|
|Weed scientist evaluating new herbicide systems|
|Wheat and oat research focuses on better varieties|
Corn producers know well that there are many diseases that can reduce yields in their crop throughout the growing season.
With this in mind, LSU AgCenter field crops plant pathologist Trey Price is conducting trials that evaluate seed in-furrow treatments and foliar sprays on corn.
“The biggest concern we tend to have in Louisiana is foliar disease management of corn,” Price said. “There are a number of foliar problems that are annual occurrences.”
On many farms a single piece of equipment is used to spray all the chemicals needed to keep weeds, insects and diseases at bay.
This practice may be convenient, but it also can cost farmers. Many pesticides leave behind a difficult-to-remove residue, which can corrode and clog sprayers. Worse, this leftover product can harm the crops it was intended to protect.
For some time, soybean farmers have used desiccants to eliminate late-season weeds and aid in drying soybean plants to make harvesting more efficient.
Research by an LSU AgCenter agronomist is questioning the effects of these harvest aids.
Josh Copes, a research agronomist at the AgCenter Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph, has three years of data examining three different desiccant products’ effects on soybeans.
Increased consumer demand for cover crops has led LSU AgCenter researchers to study ways to improve soil health, reduce fertilizer rates, increase yield and manage moisture and remove weed pressure.
AgCenter soil microbiologist Lisa Fultz is coordinating five cover crop projects in four locations and beginning to see ecological benefits that are also economically feasible for producers.
Examining the cultural and fertility practices involved in soybean production is one focus of research conducted by LSU AgCenter agronomist and rice specialist Dustin Harrell in Crowley.
In one study, Harrell is seeking to find the optimum planting dates for soybeans in southwest Louisiana.
A team of researchers is working to develop and deliver a prototype bait capsule designed to decrease numbers of invasive feral hogs — rapidly reproducing animals that have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to Louisiana row crops.
Now in the third year of the project, the team is trying to effectively encapsulate sodium nitrite as part of a bait delivery system to kill feral hogs.
It takes just 8 grams of sodium nitrite to kill a 100-pound pig, Gentry said.
After growing winter wheat, Louisiana farmers wishing to plant a second crop have few options. The most popular choice is soybeans, and an LSU AgCenter researcher is studying several factors that could help producers achieve higher yields or save money on their crop inputs.
Lisa Fultz, a soil microbiologist in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences, is evaluating soybean maturity groups, examining irrigation management and determining benefits of supplemental fertilizer applications and the timing of the fertilization.
Brenda Tubaña, LSU AgCenter soil scientist, continues to work on a project to evaluate proper rates of potassium and phosphorous in combination with lime in a corn and soybean rotation.
“We want to make sure our fertilizer recommendations are correct,” she said. “This study is long-term. It gives us an overview of the dynamics and fate of applied P and K fertilizer in the soil.”
A fumigant and soybean varieties resistant to nematodes may help combat the underground pest.
Charles Overstreet, LSU AgCenter nematode specialist, is in the second year of testing different treatments on a 5-acre field at the AgCenter Northeast Research Station near St. Joseph. He is testing soybeans using the seed treatment Avicta and the nematicide Telone on varieties that are resistant and susceptible to nematodes.
An identical test is being conducted on a farmer’s field in Morehouse Parish with Richard Letlow, AgCenter county agent.
A recent discovery by an LSU graduate student could help boost the soybean plant immune system.
Zhi-yuan Chen, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, is working on different approaches for boosting soybean resistance to Cercospora.
One of his graduate students, Josielle Rezende, found a protein that the Cercospora fungus uses as protection against a soybean plant’s defense mechanisms. A soybean plant could have its immune system boosted by inserting part of the fungal gene for making that protein, stimulating the plant to recognize the protein as an infection.
LSU AgCenter entomologist Jeff Davis is working on methods of controlling redbanded stink bugs without increasing soybean looper populations.
Pyrethroid insecticides are one of the best ways to control redbanded stink bugs, but loopers are resistant to the chemical, which kills beneficial insects that prey on loopers. Acephate also is effective against stink bugs, but it also has the downside of increasing loopers.
“When you remove all beneficial predators, the looper population grows exponentially,” Davis said.
Two longtime LSU AgCenter faculty members whose research and outreach efforts helped advance the Louisiana agriculture industry have retired.
State soybean specialist Ronnie Levy and plant pathologist Ray Schneider both took part in several projects funded by the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board.
When thinking of production practices that go hand-in-hand, soybean and sugarcane may not be the first to come to mind. But growers in south Louisiana look for profit wherever they can find it.
LSU AgCenter weed scientist Al Orgeron is looking at ways to make the combination profitable by adjusting the planting dates of soybeans to allow for the optimal planting dates for sugarcane.
Irrigation is one of the most important factors in achieving good crop yields.
Plants thrive when they have sufficient water. But when they don’t, they become stressed, putting yields and profits at risk.
In Louisiana, the growing season is typically marked by high temperatures and droughts that prompt most farmers to irrigate. This is especially true in the case of soybeans. The summer reaches its hot, dry peak at a time when most Louisiana soybeans are approaching the growth stages when pods are filled and water is most needed.
Experimenting with foliar and soil applications of different materials, Jong Ham, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, is studying different ways of improving soybean health to increase yields.
Soil amendments could boost a soybean plant’s overall health, and a healthier plant could have the ability to withstand disease better, he explained.
Ham is using DNA sequencing technology to analyze microorganisms in the soil to find which ones have beneficial effects for soybeans. Those bacteria are sprayed onto the plant’s leaves.
LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Clayton Hollier is evaluating the damage suffered by corn plants due to wind, hail, insects and disease to determine the effects of incremental defoliation of the crop.
“What we are doing with this project is mimicking pest and environmental damage with incremental defoliation by taking out different levels of leaves at different points in the growing stages,” Hollier said.
In the study, the results have shown that yields are affected when defoliation has occurred, he said.
LSU AgCenter researchers and extension agents conducting research using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are learning when to fly, what to fly and how to use this technology to increase soybean profits.
After some experience with UAVs — commonly called drones — researchers and agents have modified their technique, using the vehicles to spot-check crop conditions rather than take time-consuming photos of entire fields, said Dennis Burns, AgCenter agent in Tensas Parish.
Agricultural seed companies and universities spend a great deal of effort and time developing new varieties and hybrids for commodities, such as corn, soybeans and wheat. Once those varieties and hybrids are developed, many researchers plant the new varieties in test plots across their states to evaluate performance on various soil types and environmental conditions.
LSU AgCenter scientists Dan Fromme and Boyd Padgett conduct extensive hybrid and variety trials for corn, grain sorghum, soybeans and wheat, with 39 locations distributed throughout Louisiana that examine more than 30 varieties and hybrids.
Three new herbicide systems — including one now commercially available and two expected to be released soon — could give Louisiana farmers some much-needed tools to fight the resistant weed populations they have struggled with in recent years.
But LSU AgCenter weed scientists warn that the new products, which they have been evaluating in field trials, will only be helpful in the long run if they are used carefully and in combination with other herbicides and good management practices.
LSU AgCenter wheat researchers are using biotech tools to increase efficiency of the breeding program.
Molecular markers have been used in recent years to track genes of interest, and AgCenter researchers have added genomic selection for the first time to help develop new wheat varieties.
With genomic selection, researchers can dissect hundreds of varieties of wheat on a molecular basis into thousands of snippets of DNA, said AgCenter wheat breeder Steve Harrison.