(08/09/23) ALEXANDRIA, La. — One might think with temperatures hitting the triple digits on a Thursday afternoon in August, Louisiana producers might shy away from attending a typical field day, but the Dean Lee agronomic crops school is anything but typical.
“The purpose is to change the model from the traditional field day,” said LSU AgCenter weed specialist and Central Region director Daniel Stephenson. “It’s a way for producers to get off the trailers and talk with the scientists at each stop, which are about 20 minutes per researcher.”
The first stop focused on the role of sprayer drones on insect pest management in field crops. It was led by AgCenter field crops entomologist James Villegas and agricultural engineer Randy Price. Villegas said they’ve recently seen moderate to severe crop injury in the state from tobacco thrips.
“We found that acephate did not work very well at controlling thrips,” Villegas said. “And we are not alone. States like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas have the same problem this year. Most recently, North Carolina has found their first acephate-resistant thrips population.”
He said they will use the data captured in the past few years to revise recommendations for next year.
After a drone sprayer demonstration by Price, who invited a young attendee to fly it, everyone hopped on flatbeds and travelled to hear about seed treatments and soybean nodulation from soybean specialist David Moseley. He gave an interactive presentation showing the crowd six different seed treatments, asking attendees to determine the control plant and plants treated with Bradyrhizobium bacteria.
“I believe it depends on location and environment if there is a response from seed treatments,” he said.
AgCenter plant pathologist Boyd Padgett was up next. He talked about disease management in soybeans, corn and grain sorghum and official variety trials on which he’s been collaborating with Moseley.
“There are some newer fungicides we’re continuing to evaluate as well as corn and grain sorghum hybrids,” Padgett said. “The extreme heat and lack of moisture has had an effect on disease development in that we’re barely seeing any.”
He said there are situations where a fungicide application may not be necessary. During these hot and dry conditions, disease epidemics may not become established and a fungicide may not be necessary; therefore, scout individual fields for signs of disease.
“It could save growers $20 per acre, depending on the product,” he said.
The crops school wrapped up with Stephenson and his assistants talking about weed control following dicamba- or glufosinate-based herbicide programs.
“What I hope they get out of it is something that’ll make them money,” he said. “That is our driving force as AgCenter researchers.”
LSU AgCenter soybean specialist David Moseley gives an interactive presentation showing the crowd six different seed treatments and asking them to determine the control treatment and plants treated with Bradyrhizobium bacteria at the 2023 agronomic crops school held Aug. 3 at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center near Alexandria. Photo by V. Todd Miller/LSU AgCenter
LSU AgCenter engineer Randy Price provides a sprayer drone demonstration at the 2023 agronomic crops school held Aug. 3 at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center near Alexandria. Photo by V. Todd Miller/LSU AgCenter
LSU AgCenter weed specialist Daniel Stephenson shows attendees and example of Palmer amaranth injured by dicamba at his stop of 2023 agronomic crops school held Aug. 3 at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center near Alexandria. Photo by V. Todd Miller/LSU AgCenter