The ability of farmers to burn sugarcane is a significant economic factor for the state’s sugarcane industry.
The presence of cultivated crops such as rice or volunteer vegetation, grown as food for crawfish in ponds, interferes with seines and requires that crawfish be harvested with small, baited traps over an extended period, beginning as early as mid-November and continuing through April or June.
Phosphorus is a critical nutrient for plant growth in aquatic environments. Small increases in phosphorus entering a catfish pond can produce algal blooms that degrade water quality and increase off-flavor in fish. The primary source of phosphorus in catfish ponds is feed. This could be reduced by lowering feeding rates, decreasing the amount of phosphorus in the feed or increasing the absorption of dietary phosphorus by the fish.
Vol. 44, No. 2 Urban Agriculture
The commercial release of Bollgard cotton in 1996 gave cotton growers a new pest management tool. Bollgard cotton, a transgenic product, includes a gene from a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis. This transferred gene enables the plant to produce a toxin that provides significant control of the tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens, and the pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella, while being safe for humans, other animals and the environment.
Vol. 44, No. 3
Vol. 44, No. 1
Vol. 44, No. 4 Sugarcane
Research at the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station affects many areas of urban life including the plants that add to the aesthetic as well as the tangible benefits of community life.
The spread of fire ants in neighborhoods can be controlled with a unified, systematic approach. The LSU AgCenter has developed an effective plan.
The importance of entomology to legal investigations has been known for several hundred years, but it has been recognized as a separate specialty only for the last 20 years or so. Forensic entomology applies to any aspect of insect study that may aid in resolving a situation that goes through the legal system. This may range from insect parts found in food products to determining the time of death of a crime victim who goes undiscovered for several days.
Dietary protein is a key nutrient for high milk production in dairy cows. But determining how much protein a cow consumes and how well it is used is difficult, particularly at the farm level. A new tool being explored is the measurement of trace amounts of nitrogen in the milk. This analysis is known as milk urea nitrogen (MUN).
In Louisiana and other catfish-producing states, most growers focus on the production of market-ready fish and purchase fingerling catfish to restock their production ponds from a smaller number of farmers who specialize in fingerling production. In Louisiana, fewer than 20 fingerling producers satisfy the annual seed stock requirements for the state’s catfish industry.
Soil electrical conductivity was measured in a production field at the Dean Lee Research Station and found to correlate with soil texture, organic matter, soil nutrients and crop yield. Research is under way to calibrate nitrogen needs in corn and cotton based on soil electrical conductivity, paving the way for site-specific fertilizer application.
Construction of the free-stall barn at the LSU AgCenter’s Southeast Research Station is expected to be completed by Sept. 1, 2001. The barn is Phase III of changes at the station that make it a state-of-the-art dairy research facility as well as dairy farm.
The best time to plant corn in Louisiana is from mid to late March. During that time lower soil temperatures can inhibit germination of weed seeds and delay growth of emerged seedlings, which helps with weed management. The critical time to remove weeds from corn for maximum yield ranges from four to six weeks after planting.
Growing winter wheat has multiple benefits that can lead to an increase in farm productivity. A wheat cover crop stabilizes the soil during high rainfall months and increases soil productivity by increasing organic matter and biological activity. Wheat is especially beneficial when the residue is left on the soil surface and the following summer crop is planted using no-till practices.
The production and marketing environments of row crop agriculture have changed dramatically since passage of the 1996 Farm Bill. Under previous Farm Bills, price support systems let producers establish continuous or monocrop cropping systems with less concern for market signals.
Two scientists have been named to the next Experiment Station Committee on Policy (ESCOP) and Academic Programs Committee on Policy (ACOP) leadership development course, and two have just graduated from their year’s involvement.
Louisiana’s dairy industry continues to hold its own despite a threat from the West’s rapidly growing dairies and fast-changing technology that may eventually erode any advantages over other regions.
Glyphosate is a postemergence, nonselective herbicide that controls many annual and perennial weeds. Trade names include Roundup Ultra, Roundup Ultra Max, Roundup Original, Glyfos, Glyphomax Plus, Gly-Flo, Glyphosate Original and Touchdown. Soybeans with the glyphosate-resistance gene (Roundup Ready soybeans) were introduced in 1996 in the United States. In 2001, more than 75 percent of the soybean acreage in Louisiana was planted to Roundup Ready varieties, and acreage is expected to increase.
These three images are of the upper middle field shown on page 25. The photo at top, which is of the bare field, displays the unique pattern of soil variability. It was taken in 1994.
Last summer, far to the north from their historic home in the Andes on a ranch near Bozeman, Mont., two llama mamas gave birth to alpacas. These were the first cross species births between alpaca and llama brought about through embryo transfer technology. The LSU AgCenter helped bring about this scientific achievement.
What to do with zoo doo-doo was the dilemma facing officials at the Panama City, Fla., Zoo World until they found out about the LSU AgCenter’s Compost Facility Operator Training School.
Smooth cordgrass is widely used for erosion control. However, its use is limited by its high cost to plant manually. The LSU AgCenter is working with other agencies to figure out a way to seed it efficiently via airplane.
Nematode parasites make a big difference in the appetite of beef cattle and thus their weight gain. Left to right are four of the paddocks used in nematode research at the LSU AgCenter’s Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria. The road about a third of the way from the top serves as one border, and the tree line at the bottom is another border.
Insects that eat soybean leaves, such as the soybean looper, velvetbean caterpillar and green cloverworm, usually attack in late August and September. Because determination of economic threshholds for each specific stage of seed filling is difficult, an alternative approach based on light interception was investigated.
Cotton farmers may soon have a new way to evaluate the effectiveness of one class of insecticides, thanks to a new LSU AgCenter procedure that received a U.S. patent.
Root-knot nematodes cause significant yield losses in many horticultural crops. Double-cropping cantaloupes with a nematode-resistant tomato can improve cantaloupe yields in soils that have a history of root-knot nematode.
The LSU AgCenter has released three new peach varieties, which will be available commercially in the fall of 2001. Their names match their characteristics somewhat, says Charlie Johnson, horticulture researcher and developer of the varieties. LaSweet is low-acid and very sweet. LaRouge has a bright red skin. And LaBelle is a late-season peach that will extend Louisiana’s fresh peach season into mid-July.
Beef and dairy producers in north Louisiana plant more than 30,000 acres of hill land to annual ryegrass each fall for grazing cattle during the winter and spring. Nitrogen is the most limiting plant nutrient required for annual ryegrass production on these sandy Coastal Plain soils.
Commercial cow-calf production is the primary beef cattle enterprise in Louisiana. The state has about 550,000 beef cows in 15,000 herds located in all parishes but Orleans. The primary product marketed from these herds is the weaned calf. At least 80 percent of the cow-calf herds in Louisiana use crossbred cows of one kind or another, and most of these crossbred cows have some Brahman inheritance.
Herbicides are necessary for obtaining optimum yield and maximum profit in the rice industry. Before the development of selective rice herbicides, weed control involved intensive hand labor. Combined with improved cultural and fertility practices and the development of high yielding varieties, selective herbicides have dramatically increased rice yields in the last 50 years.
Alligators and fashion may bring different images to mind, but the combination offers potential for Louisiana’s economy. A research initiative to explore ways to increase domestic demand for finished products made with American alligator leather began in 1997. The goal is to find more opportunities for Louisiana’s alligator business.
Discovery of new postemergence grass herbicides (graminicides) in the late 1970s and early 1980s gave producers a highly effective means for over-the-top control of most annual grasses and perennial grasses, such as johnsongrass, in cotton and soybean fields. Continued reliance on these herbicides has brought about increased selection pressure for resistant populations.
Stephen A. Harrison, James R. Fuxa and the Experiment Station's Sugarcane Breeding and Variety Development Team won the top research awards presented as the LSU AgCenter's Annual Conference Dec. 11 and 12, 2000.
Exposure of sugarcane to damaging frosts occurs in about a fourth of the sugarcane-producing countries but is most frequent in the United States, particularly in Louisiana. Here, winter freezes have forced the industry to adapt to a short growing season (about nine months) and a short milling season (about three months), although in recent years the milling season has been extended to about four months.
One important application of precision farming is yield mapping. Yield maps provide site-specific information that can aid in managing fertilizer and pesticide rates. Yield maps consist of two variables, the crop spot yield (pounds) and the position (longitude, latitude) of that yield in the field.
The ability of farmers to burn sugarcane is a significant economic factor for the state’s sugarcane industry. Burning of sugarcane before harvest eliminates from 30 percent to 50 percent of the leafy trash (residue), which constitutes from 20 percent to 25 percent of the total weight of the plant.
The comprehensive research program in sugarcane at the LSU AgCenter results from cooperative relationships with many organizations and institutions. Two prominent cooperators in Louisiana are the American Sugar Cane League, headquartered in Thibodaux, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service’s Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma.
Mechanization of harvest was a major turning point in Louisiana sugarcane production. Harvesters were developed that would cut whole stalks of sugarcane and drop them across rows. Within the past five years, however, another major change has occurred in the sugarcane harvesting system used in Louisiana. Sugarcane is now harvested with what are known as “chopper” or “combine” harvesters.
The Louisiana sugar industry, with its long history and rich tradition, is a vital component of the unique culture of south Louisiana. The industry, which celebrated its bicentennial in 1995, is made up of nearly 700 family farms that produced more than 1.5 million tons of sugar from 460,000 acres of sugarcane in 2000.
Weeds are a major factor limiting production of sugarcane in Louisiana. The battle for water, light, nutrients and space between weeds and the crop can reduce sugarcane stalk population and yield. Sugarcane differs from other crops in that at least three harvests, and in some cases four to five harvests, are made from a single planting.
Louisiana is following a voluntary approach to managing potential nonpoint-source pollution from agriculture. This strategy focuses on education as the means to increase the adoption of best management practices (BMPs), which are those agricultural practices designed to preserve, conserve and even improve the natural environment.
This is the sugar mill at St. James, one of 17 in the state. According to the LSU AgCenter’s Agricultural Summary for 2000, sugarcane was grown on 491,994 acres, which was a new record for the Louisiana sugar industry. An estimated 457,554 acres were harvested for sugar, with a total production of 1,549,198 tons of sugar.
A product made from Louisiana sugar that may help reduce the incidence of poultry-borne food poisoning, as well as help slow the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens, is under investigation at the Audubon Sugar Institute.
Soil fertility and plant nutrition research are important components of the LSU AgCenter’s sugarcane research efforts. With tight economic conditions and increasing concern for the environment, it is important that the nutritional needs of sugarcane be met without applying excess nutrients. To meet this challenge, the LSU AgCenter maintains a rigorous program for examining the nutritional needs of the recommended sugarcane varieties on the major soil groups where sugarcane is grown.
Integrated pest management (IPM) has two distinctive components—economic protection from pest damage and a more favorable environmental outcome than would occur in the absence of IPM. Integrated pest management is a dynamic process and involves balance among biological, cultural and chemical measures deemed most appropriate to a particular situation after careful study of all factors involved.
Only a small percentage of the more than 75,000 acres of sugarcane fallow land in Louisiana is planted annually to rotational crops. Most sugarcane growers traditionally have used the fallow period for three purposes.
A sugarcane variety begins as a single seedling. Stalks from that initial plant are then cut and planted, and the buds along the stalks germinate and grow to produce new plants. This increase through cutting and planting of stalks, or “seedcane,” continues until the variety may be grown in many fields across the state.
The Mexican rice borer was introduced in 1980 from Mexico into the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where it soon became a serious pest of sugarcane. In 1987, the Mexican rice borer was detected in Jackson and Victoria counties of the Texas Rice Belt. In 2000, LSU AgCenter and Texas A&M scientists cooperated in setting out pheromone traps to determine the Mexican rice borer spread since 1987.
Sugarcane has been an integral part of the South Louisiana economy and culture for more than 200 years. When the Jesuit priests first brought sugarcane to Louisiana in 1751, little did they know that they were laying the foundation for an industry that now contributes $2 billion to the Louisiana economy.
Sugarcane sweetens the Louisiana economy with about a $2 billion contribution each year. That’s the result of the efforts of about 750 producers in 23 parishes (in blue) growing sugarcane on more than 450,000 acres. There are 17 sugar mills in Louisiana and two refineries—one in Gramercy and the other in Chalmette. Louisiana produces about 16 percent of the total sugar grown in the United States (includes both beet and sugarcane sugar).
When individual homeowners try to get rid of the red imported fire ant, all they really do is move the mounds around their own yard or send them to the neighbor’s. That’s why Dale Pollet, LSU AgCenter entomologist, is promoting a plan in which city dwellers band together by neighborhood to control the spread of this troublesome pest.
Most people are familiar with the use of forensic entomology in the investigation of crimes involving humans. However, another area in which this type of science is valuable is in the investigation of suspicious deaths of animals and suspected cases of animal poaching. The illegal take of wildlife is a serious offense. About 16,000 poaching cases occur annually in Louisiana. Only half of these cases are prosecuted because of limited or no evidence available.
Mississippi’s gain is Louisiana’s loss with the March 1 retirement of R. Larry Rogers as director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station and vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. Rogers is in the process of moving back to his family farm across the border near Prentiss.
Lawn and garden care practices have the potential to significantly and adversely affect the water quality of urban waterways. The major pollutants found in runoff from urban areas include sediment eroded from bare-soil areas, nutrients from over-fertilization and oxygen-demanding substances such as leaf and grass clippings.
To study the foraging behavior of soil-dwelling termites, LSU AgCenter scientists were involved in the building of a termitarium in New Orleans on the site of one of the facilities of the Mosquito and Termite Control Board.
A major water quality concern in Louisiana is the concentration of fecal coliform bacteria in our streams and bayous. Research shows that woodlands and dairy farm pastures both contribute to contamination. Better systems for measuring fecal coliform numbers are needed in Louisiana’s warm, subtropical climate.
Rural land value contours were estimated to show the combined effects of location and economic development. In general, the metropolitan areas of Baton Rouge and New Orleans have a dramatic effect on rural land values.
Mosquitoes have historically caused misery and suffering to Louisiana citizens. Since 1965, LSU AgCenter research has contributed to mosquito abatement in Louisiana.
Two claims to fame for C. Lamar Meek, professor in the Department of Entomology, who died June 27, 2000, were his mosquito research and forensic entomology research. In 1979, Meek became LSU’s chief mosquito scientist, replacing C. Dayton Steelman, who moved to an administrative position. Meek became a driving force in the Louisiana Mosquito Control Association, twice serving as its president.
Long a campus fixture, the LSU AgCenter’s Dairy Store and its accompanying creamery have offered teaching and research opportunities for the Department of Dairy Science as well as ice cream treats.
Wes Gladhart of Metairie, retired pharmacist and devout gardener, spends many a Tuesday afternoon in the LSU AgCenter’s Orleans Parish Extension Office answering gardening questions – free. He is a Louisiana Master Gardener.
Diversity is a word used frequently in discussions related to social, environmental and economic issues. The word diversity implies variety, inclusiveness and comprehensiveness, qualities that have the capacity to lend strength to an individual, an organization, a system or an entity. Therefore, diversity is considered a highly desirable quality.
Although some Louisiana homeowners use professional lawn care services, many homeowners maintain their own lawns. While many professional applicators use liquid fertilizers and pesticides, granular products are easier for homeowners to apply. A bewildering array of lawn spreaders is available for this purpose, and many homeowners do not know how to select or effectively use a spreader.
Formosan subterranean termites have proved to be one of the most formidable pests ever to invade Louisiana. They are here to stay. But the LSU AgCenter is taking a three-pronged approach to stem their spread.