New Grass Variety Nematode Study Highlights Of LSU AgCenter Field Day

William Pitman, Waltman, William F., Colyer, Patrick D., Coolman, Denise, Millhollon, Eddie P., Hanna, Hanna Y.

News Release Distributed 09/16/05

BOSSIER CITY – LSU AgCenter researchers are studying how Louisiana producers can grow Dallisgrass to add diversity to their crop production.

Buddy Pitman and Millard Kimball of the LSU AgCenter’s Red River Research Station near here gave a report on Dallisgrass evaluations during the station’s annual field day Sept. 8. The researchers are studying how they can breed the grass to get a new, better variety.

"Seed for Dallisgrass are produced in Australia," Pitman said. "We believe there may be an opportunity to develop a Dallisgrass industry in Northwest Louisiana.

"We planted some (Dallisgrass) seed here at the research station this summer. We’re studying how we can breed these (seed) to get a new variety…one that can be more widely used."

Dallisgrass is a perennial grass. It is fast growing and offers high quality forage for livestock. It starts growing early in spring and is used mainly for pasture, with some hay and erosion control use.

Learning how to control nematodes was another topic discussed during the field day. Dr. Pat Colyer from the LSU AgCenter and Dr. Terry Kirkpatrick from the University of Arkansas spoke on ways to control this pest.

"Nematodes are microscopic worms that live in the soil," Kirkpatrick said. "The problem is they are built to survive adversity and they reproduce very well."

No cotton varieties have good resistance to nematodes, Colyer said. Much of the researchers’ study is done at looking at tolerance.

"We are looking at how using crop rotations and using nematicides can help control this pest," Colyer said.

Some crops that can be rotated with cotton to control nematodes include non-host plants such as corn, peanuts and grain sorghum.

Nematicides are effective at reducing early season infection, according to the experts, who say nematicides such as Nemacur, Temik and Telone are effective in providing a "zone of protection" around the plants and can help plants tolerate nematodes.

Field day participants also heard an insect update from Marion Farris, another researcher at the Red River Research Station. There have been no reports of finding any boll weevils in Northwest Louisiana, Farris said. Boll worms "have been plentiful," and there is also heavy pressure from spider mites, he said.

In other reports during the field day:

–Dr. Blair Buckley of the LSU AgCenter spoke about his Southernpea Breeding Program and said a new cream pea is being developed and should be released by fall 2006.

–Participants also heard about the Nitrogen Cover Crop Study, where wheat is planted as a cover crop because of the organic material it puts out.

–New Bt cotton Technology also covered at the field day. Bill Waltman, a research associate at the station, reported on new Bt cotton technology and said WideStrike is one Bt brand being studied.

–Dr. H.Y. Hanna of the LSU AgCenter discussed his ongoing research on greenhouse tomatoes. The latest research involves putting a canopy of sorts over the roof of the greenhouses to filter some of the sunlight that comes in. Hanna also is looking at different types of irrigation for the crop.

In addition, field day participants toured the constructed wetlands project at the station and heard about research headed by Dr. Eddie Millhollon of the LSU AgCenter to determine if such a wetland can be used to help reduce water pollution.

For more information on this and other information related to agriculture, finances, health and more, go to


Blair Buckley at (318) 797-8034 or
Patrick Colyer at (318) 741-7430 or
H.Y. Hanna at (318) 741-7430 or
Eddie Millhollon at (318) 741-7430 or
Buddy Pitman at (318) 741-7430 or
Bill Waltman at (318) 741-7430 or
A. Denise Coolman at (318) 547-0921 or

9/17/2005 12:52:27 AM
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