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Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Spring 2024

Louisiana’s warm, subtropical climate allows producers to raise an array of crops and livestock. It also provides challenges. Tropical storm winds can lay down rice and cane crops. Ample rain can turn into crop-damaging floods. Last year, a drought struck the southeastern United States, leading to more than $100 million in losses for the cattle sector.

In these cases, LSU AgCenter specialists respond to individual producers’ needs. In each parish AgCenter Extension agents help connect producers with needed resources and become a conduit for the latest knowledge gleaned from scientists at AgCenter research stations across the state.

This issue of Louisiana Agriculture details the many ways AgCenter researchers and agents assist producers in difficult times and how they are safeguarding the agricultural sector for the future.

See below for links to the articles. If you would like to subscribe, or if you have any other questions, please contact the editor, Kyle Peveto.

grymes.png thumbnailAbundant Rain and a Long Growing Season: How the Louisiana Climate Affects Agriculture

Jay Grymes

The Louisiana climate is considered subtropical, and of the five Gulf Coast states, Louisiana is on average the wettest. The abundance of water that creates a green environment is a great contributor to Louisiana agriculture.

franks.png thumbnailA Community-Engagement Approach to Managing Drought: The Drought Irrigation Response Tool (DIRT)

Meggan Franks, Stacia L. Davis Conger, Carol Friedland, Robert Rohli, April Divine, Andrew Garcia, Shifat Mithila and Md Adilur Rahim

Through a specialized federal grant program dedicated to rapidly responding to extreme weather events, the AgCenter obtained funding to convert an irrigation scheduling spreadsheet into a convenient web tool accessible on any internet-enabled device.

healy.png thumbnailMosquitoes and Climate Change

Kristen Healy

There are more than 60 species of mosquitoes in Louisiana. Our weather — especially temperature and precipitation levels — are the primary drivers of annual changes in these mosquito species’ presence and abundance.

lutz.png thumbnailClimate Impacts on Crawfish Aquaculture — A Year-Round Concern

C. Greg Lutz

Crawfish aquaculture mimics natural hydrological and vegetative cycles, and natural reproduction is relied upon as a source of hatchlings each farming season. Rainfall and temperature extremes throughout the year can significantly impact production.

subudhi.png thumbnailCRISP-RICE: LSU AgCenter Leading the Effort to Improve Sustainability and Profitability of Rice Farming

Prasanta Subudhi

The LSU AgCenter is leading a multidisciplinary research effort to improve the sustainability and profitability of rice farming systems in the southern rice growing states of the U.S. Seven institutions from five states are involved in research, education and extension activities involving a wide range of disciplines.

jeong.png thumbnailClimate-Smart Rice Growing Strategies in Louisiana

Changyoon Jeong, Jim Wang and Xi Zhang

The LSU AgCenter promotes climate-smart rice farming that aims to increase productivity in an environmentally and socially sustainable way, strengthen farmers' resilience to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions where possible.

naveen.png thumbnailConservation Adoption to Increase Resilience to Future Climate Variability

Naveen Adusumilli and Lyla Duplechain

Droughts or extreme weather events allow the government to implement or strengthen conservation programs and policies to help farmers adopt sustainable practices. These often take the form of financial incentives, technical assistance and regulatory measures aimed at promoting conservation and resilience in agriculture.

navarre.png thumbnailResilience: Minimizing Impacts of Climate Change on Livestock

Dr. Christine Navarre, Ashley K. Edwards and Neely Heidorn

Recent weather extremes, which include record heat and cold as well as drought and flooding, have made it especially difficult to maintain the health and production of livestock in Louisiana. Predicting these weather extremes is nearly impossible at times, but advanced planning can help livestock producers minimize the impacts of these events.

fields.png thumbnailA Warm Welcome to the New USDA Hardiness Zone Map

Jeb Fields and Damon Abdi

In 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released an updated Plant Hardiness Zone Map — the first time it has been updated since 2012. This map is based on 30-year averages of the lowest annual winter temperatures in specific locations with data collected from 13,412 weather stations — nearly double as many as the 7,983 used for the last version.

kan.png thumbnailWeathering Extreme Drought in Louisiana With Alternative Roughage for Livestock

Kun Jun Han and Jeremy Hebert

Louisiana experienced extremely dry summer and fall seasons in 2023. This has put a strain on quality forage production and has impacted the availability of pasture and hay for livestock. As a result, the LSU AgCenter Forage Testing Lab performed tests on several nontraditional livestock forages.

mcclure1.png thumbnailSammy King: Studying Wetlands and Restoring the Whooping Crane in Louisiana

Olivia McClure

Sammy King is an expert on wetlands and the many species of waterbirds and other wildlife that call these habitats home. He leads the U.S. Geological Survey’s Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and is an adjunct professor teaching courses in the LSU School of Renewable Resources.

mcclure2.png thumbnailWorkshop Teaches Proper Prescribed Burning Methods

Olivia McClure

A practice called prescribed burning helps ensure healthy forests. Burning fallen trees and excess brush helps limit fuel for wildfires — a problem that is fresh on the minds of many in western and central Louisiana, where drought and extreme heat led to blazes in numerous forests last summer.

mcclure3.png thumbnail‘In Touch but Not in The Way,’ Justin Dufour Is a Resource for Central Louisiana Farmers

Olivia McClure

AgCenter Extension agent Justin Dufour recently received the County Agent Award from the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association. It’s his job to be a resource for constituents, pointing them to growing practices backed by AgCenter research and handling inquiries about issues being encountered in the field.

peveto.png thumbnailBorn on the Water, M.P. Hayes Works to Protect the Rivers, Bayous, Lakes and Coast of Louisiana

Kyle Peveto

M.P. Hayes, who joined the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant in 2023, directs the Water Quality Extension Lab, a service that helps agricultural producers throughout the state learn to improve their operations and use water more efficiently. The lab also provides water-quality assessments to promote water conservation and waterway protection.

coa.png thumbnailLSU College of Agriculture News Spring 2024

agcenter.png thumbnailLSU AgCenter News Spring 2024

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture