This issue of Louisiana Agriculture features articles on corn hybrids, aflatoxin in corn, integrating herbicides and insecticides in cotton, improving Brahman cattle for meat quality and more. 28 pages. Vol. 47, No. 3
Tenderness is a major determinant of our enjoyment in eating beef and is based on two factors, said Kenneth McMillin, professor of meat science in the Department of Animal Sciences. Connective tissue, which changes with an animal’s age and type of muscle, is a primary factor, while physical attributes, including the length of the muscle fibers and their relative density also affect tenderness.
Several new food products or ingredients have been identified as contributing to human health. Including such ingredients in manufactured dairy products would improve their health-giving benefits. LSU AgCenter researchers are testing how the incorporation of these health-beneficial ingredients in dairy products affects physico-chemical and sensory characteristics.
There are 215 million acres of timberland in the southern United States and nearly 30 percent are southern pine forests. Loblolly pine is the most extensively planted commercial pine species in the South. In Louisiana, the growing volume of loblolly pine forests is nearly 7 billion cubic feet.
Few people know crawfish come in several colors besides the traditional red or brown. Ray McClain, crawfish researcher at the LSU AgCenter's Rice Research Station in Crowley, said he had heard of pure white and has seen a few sky-blue crawfish over the years.
Stripe rust, a fungal disease, has begun causing problems for Louisiana wheat growers. And LSU AgCenter researchers are developing a disease forecasting system to try to head off an epidemic.
The introduction of glyphosate-resistant transgenic (Roundup Ready) technology has offered an alternative for control of troublesome weeds in cotton, soybean and corn. One drawback to this technology is that “volunteer” Roundup Ready crop plants originating from seed produced the previous crop year have become “weeds.”
Howard Cormier, county agent for rice and sugarcane in Vermilion Parish, waded into a rice field near Gueydan to get a firsthand look at weeds in the fledgling crop.“I see duck salad, sesbania, paspalum. Here’s some bull’s tongue.”
A big hurdle to increased corn production in Louisiana is aflatoxin, a byproduct of a fungal infection that generally occurs in drought-stressed corn. And Steve Moore, a researcher at the LSU AgCenter’s Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria, is trying to find a remedy.
Nearly 80 visitors attended the inaugural nursery, landscape and floriculture open house at the new ornamental and turfgrass research facility at the LSU AgCenter's Burden Center in Baton Rouge on April 23.
Aflatoxin is a highly carcinogenic contaminant produced in corn grain infected with Aspergillus flavus fungus. Aflatoxin is especially widespread in Louisiana when high temperatures and drought conditions prevail during the grain-filling period.
LSU AgCenter researchers had nearly $1.4 million in proposals approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents in the 2004 competition."We fared well under these competitive conditions," said David Boethel, vice chancellor and director of research.
The cotton disease called “bronze wilt” (it gives the leaves a copper color and they wilt) was first observed in Louisiana and Mississippi in 1995. While losses in Mississippi were minimal, the disease caused yield reduction in some Louisiana cotton fields.
Research on livestock reproduction has been given a boost through the expansion and remodeling of one of the country's top facilities - the LSU AgCenter's Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory.
The Brahman breed has contributed much to the commercial cow-calf industry in Louisiana and the Southeastern United States because of its adaptability to subtropical conditions. The breed also contributes to hybrid vigor when crossed with Angus and Hereford breeds. Recent evidence suggests that beef from cattle with a high percentage Brahman parentage has lower marbling and is less tender on average than beef from other breeds.
Before the availability of transgenic technology in cotton, weed management programs consisted of herbicide applications to the soil at planting followed by multiple herbicide applications directed underneath the crop in combination with tillage to control emerged weeds. Today, weeds are managed with over-the-top applications.
Corn yield and seed quality depend on management, climate and the interaction of these factors. In Louisiana in recent years, lack of rain combined with high temperatures have caused yields to suffer.
The projected Louisiana gross farm value of forest products decreased in 2003. The 2003 total sawlog harvest fell by more than 111 million board feet (9.5%) to a cut of 1,116,383,390 board feet.