Southeast Research Station Profile

Mary Bradford, Moreira, Vinicius R., Hutchison, Charles F.  |  5/20/2010 12:59:37 AM


grazing cows

crops on floating island

You can access a PDF version of the Southeast Research Station Profile below.

2014 Louisiana Dairy, Beef and Hay Industry Facts

In 2014 the 121 Louisiana dairy farms generated milk valued at $52.3 million. The total contribution of dairying including milk sales, animal sales and additional processing was valued at $153.2 million. Three parishes in the southeastern part of the state (Tangipahoa, Washington and St. Helena) and two parishes in the northwestern part of the state (DeSoto and Sabine) accounted for 93% of milk produced in the state.

In 2014 a total of 433,050 beef cattle were owned by 7,379 Louisiana beef producers. Gross farm value of the beef cattle industry was $795.3 million with added value of $99.4 million, bringing the total value of beef cattle production in the state to $894.8 million.

In 2014 hay produced from 344,798 acres of grasslands was sold by 3,073 producers. Gross farm value of all hay sales was $145.7 million. Total value of hay production, including value added, was $171.2 million. Another 470,000 acres of hay was grown non-commercially.

Data from the 2014 Louisiana AgSummary

Research focus:


  • All aspects of dairy nutrition
  • Nutrient/waste management
  • Dairy genetics/reproduction/heat stress management
  • Grazing systems and pasture supplementation


  • Species and variety evaluation
  • Legume management
  • Forages for biofuel
  • Nutritive value assessments
  • Organic fertilizers

Clientele Services:

  • BioPRYN Pregnancy Diagnosis Laboratory for cattle sheep and goats
  • 4-H outdoor sports
  • State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest
  • State FFA Dairy Cattle Judging Contest

Research Highlights at the Southeast Research Station

Forage Management and Varietal Evaluations

Cool-season annual forages such as annual ryegrass and forage oats are evaluated each winter for yield, winter hardiness and other growth parameters. Also, plots are used to evaluate new summer forage crops such as millets, sudans, forage sorghums and sorghum-sudan hybrids.

Dairy Nutrition

The ability to produce abundant forage for much of the year is one of the strengths of livestock production in the Southeastern U.S. In particular, plentiful rainfall and sunshine in the southeast region of Louisiana allow for some of the longest growing seasons in the U.S. The Southeast Research Station dedicates significant resources to developing research to improve forage production, quality and utilization in conditions that are relevant to local livestock producers. The station's research and extension team has a close relationship with the livestock industry in the region, and is attuned to the needs of local farmers. In recent years, the station has evaluated practices that enhanced bale silage and hay quality, optimization of mineral supplementation, and evaluated alternative byproduct feeds during periods of feed price volatility.

Dairy Waste Management

The Southeast Research Station is engaged in basic and applied research to reduce the potential environmental footprint of Louisiana dairy farms. The experimental Dairy Wastewater Treatment Evaluation System is a replicated set of biological treatment systems, including anaerobic/facultative lagoons, aerobic lagoons and constructed wetlands, used to treat wastewater collected in and around a 300-cow dairy parlor. The experimental systems have been active since 2005 in a variety of studies focusing on alternatives to improve abatement of potential pollutants such as organic compounds (90% reduction), nitrogen (80% reduction) and E. coli counts (>99% reduction).

Significance of Forage and Dairy Research

Evaluation of new forage varieties developed by LSU AgCenter plant breeders and others provides unbiased scientific information to assist farmers in Louisiana and neighboring states in selecting well-adapted forages. Recent findings have supported increased use of forage oats and the more digestible brown midrib sorghum types by local dairy and beef farmers.

Pasture supplementation research has identified optimal milk urea nitrogen (MUN) levels for grazing dairy cattle, thereby lowering protein supplement costs and enhancing reproduction of high-producing dairy cows. Bale silage technology has been adopted by nearly 1/3 of local dairyman and has led to enhanced forage quality and milk production.

Feeding adequate dietary phosphorus levels in dairy cows’ diets can represent significant economic savings to Louisiana producers and will reduce phosphates entering the environment. Improved waste treatment system designs will assure high water-quality standards in Louisiana.

Future Plans

Forage research will continue to be an emphasis at the Southeast Research Station.  Assessing the production potential, nutritive value and harvesting method of new forages are important for the successful growth, development and productivity of ruminant animals (dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, deer, etc.) and horses.  Another area of interest will be forage preservation and storage methods.  Forages used for biofuel (ethanol) is another area of agronomic research focusing on management of sweet sorghum, canola and other forages suitable for biofuel production and growth in the southeastern part of the United States.

Livestock nutrition and management research at the Southeast Research Station will continue to emphasize feeding strategies that maximize profitability while maintaining a high level of environmental stewardship.  Studies are planned to investigate nutrient utilization, focusing on forages and phosphorus supplementation.  The station's research and extension team is also exploring the possibility to expand research activities to include ways to abate heat stress, a constant threat to livestock productivity in the region.

A dairy waste management project is currently studying the use of "floating islands" to abate pollutants from dairy lagoon effluent.  Preliminary results indicate that the presence of floating islands may help remove nutrients from the wastewater, while not influencing or increasing the concentrations of others.  This research will be expanded to assess practices that can be combined with floating islands to limit emission of pollutants escaping treatment in sequential lagoons.

Southeast Research Station Office


41217 Bethel Road
Franklinton, LA 70438

Location: The station is located off Hwy 16 in Franklinton. From Hwy 16 take CC Road (20.4 miles from I-55 Amite and 3.3 miles from Hwy 25 Franklinton) and then left on Bethel Road.

Size: 844 acres, including approximately 500 tillable acres with the remainder in timber and facilities.

Phone: 985-839-2322

Fax: 985-839-3202


Office Hours:

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday


Charles F. Hutchison
Research Station Coordinator/Professor

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