Bruce Schultz, Levy, Ronnie, Fontenot, Keith A., Cormier, Howard J., Eskew, Charles E., Saichuk, John K.
Farmers in the South Louisiana’s rice-growing parishes can start the year the first week of January with informational meetings presented by the LSU AgCenter to bring them up to date on the latest agricultural developments.
"Planting is just around the corner," said Eddie Eskew of Jennings, LSU AgCenter county agent for rice in the state’s southwestern parishes. He said some farmers will start planting in March.
Among the topics to be discussed at all four sessions to be offered in early January are rice variety updates, crop diseases, insects and herbicide recommendations.
The meetings are slated for Jan. 4 in Iowa, Jan. 5 in Ville Platte, Jan. 6 in Crowley and Jan. 7 in Kaplan. All four meetings start with registration at 7:30 a.m.
The first meeting on Jan. 4 in Iowa will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on U.S. 90, a half-mile west of the U.S. 165 interchange. The program is tailored for farmers in Jefferson Davis, Cameron, Calcasieu, Allen and Beauregard parishes.
Eskew said the program will provide recommendations from experts of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station, extension specialists and the LSU Agronomy and Entomology departments.
He said the meeting in Iowa will include a presentation by Dr. Tim Walker of the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Miss., on use of the grid sampling technique to restore nutrients to precision-leveled land.
Walker also will be at the Jan. 5 meeting for Evangeline and St. Landry Parish farmers at the Ville Platte Civic Center, 704 N. Soileau Road.
Keith Fontenot, LSU AgCenter county agent for rice in Evangeline Parish, said information will be available for farmers uncertain about the future of soybeans in the area.
"Because of the rust situation, right now a lot of them have the question in mind, ‘Do I plant soybeans or do I not plant?’ " Fontenot said.
He said Dr. Kurt Guidry, an LSU AgCenter agricultural economist, will be available to answer their questions.
On Jan. 6, the meeting for Acadia and Lafayette farmers will be in Crowley at the Acadia Parish Extension Office, 157 Cherokee Drive.
Dr. Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter county agent for rice in Lafayette and Acadia parishes, said farmers will get information about a new insect pest, the whorl maggot.
"They’ll also get information on the new herbicides," he said.
In addition, the Acadia session will have discussions of recommended variety selection, new variety releases and the latest technology in second crop production.
Farmers also will learn more about the disease Asian soybean rust and fungicides that can be used for controlling it.
On Jan. 7, the meeting for Vermilion growers will be in Kaplan at the American Legion Hall, 1504 American Legion Road.
Howard Cormier, LSU AgCenter county agent in Vermilion, said he recommends farmers attend one of the sessions to get updated information.
"If you don’t keep up, there’s a greater likelihood you won’t make the best decision," he said. Cormier also stressed that farmers benefit from the meetings by visiting with their neighbors to learn about methods and techniques that are being used in their areas.
Other features of the Kaplan meeting include LSU AgCenter economist Dr. Mike Salassi, who will discuss rice market trends for 2005.
Louisiana rice acreage increased to 533,364 acres in 2004, compared to 455,000 in 2003.
But low prices and a stagnant market probably will affect planting in 2005, according to Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist.
"Rice acreage is expected to decrease to around 500,000 acres," he said.
The 2004 average yield per acre was 5,840 pounds, 320 pounds less than the record of 6,157 in 2003. The reduction has been blamed on unfavorable weather that reduced photosynthesis.
A total of 1,496 producers harvested rice in Louisiana in 2004, a decline from 2003 of 75 farmers, Saichuk said.
Eddie Eskew at (337) or email@example.com
Keith Fontenot (337) 363-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Levy (337) 788-8821 or email@example.com
Howard Cormier at (337) 898-4335 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Johnny Saichuk at (337) 788-7547 or email@example.com
Writer: Bruce Schultz at (337) 788-8821 or firstname.lastname@example.org