The History of the Sugar Research Station

Connie Graham, Gravois, Kenneth  |  4/20/2005 6:06:22 PM

This sugarcane is on rail carts that are used in the photoperiod-induced flowering technique.

The Sugar Station is the oldest of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Stations. Founded in 1885 at the Schultz plantation in Kenner, it was supported by the members of the Louisiana Sugar Planters Association through the cooperation of the Louisiana scientific and agricultural associations.
With the adoption of the Hatch Act of 1887, and with considerable controversy over the location of the experiment stations in the state, the Sugar Experiment Station was moved to Audubon Park in New Orleans on 50 acres of leased land. The Audubon Sugar School originated at the Sugar Experiment Station. Concurrent with the building of the "Greater Agricultural College," Audubon Park terminated the lease to the Sugar Station. The sugar planters purchased a site in Harahan for the new location of the Sugar Station; however, the LSU Board of Supervisors decided that the Sugar Station and the Audubon Sugar Factory would be moved to Baton Rouge.

Since the inception of the Sugar Station, the primary function has been to generate and develop new sugarcane varieties. At first the new varieties were of foreign origin. Through a cooperative agreement, the Bureau of Plant Industry of the USDA would import and quarantine the new varieties and seedlings. The new varieties that passed through quarantine were evaluated for performance in Louisiana by Sugar Station personnel. Later the Canal Point program supplied experimental varieties from seed of domestic origin. Since the 1950s photoperiod scheduling has been used to induce flowering under Louisiana conditions. Since 1983, all seed production has been done at photoperiod facilities at the Sugar Research Station in St. Gabriel, Louisiana.

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