(02/15/19) DELHI, La. — Trade and price uncertainties best describe the agricultural market outlook on the eve of the highly anticipated release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report, LSU AgCenter economist Michael Deliberto said at the Northeast Louisiana Crops Forum.
Held Feb. 7 at the Delhi Civic Center, the meeting drew about 85 farmers and industry representatives.
“We haven’t had one of these reports since December due to the government shutdown,” Deliberto said, adding that the report provides vital information on final crop yields and sheds light on South American production.
Numbers through December indicate a favorable market for corn as the market continues to tighten, which is good news for northeast Louisiana producers, who farm the largest percentage of corn acreage in the state, Deliberto said.
Ahead of upcoming trade talks and as more USDA data hits the market, key factors to watch for the soybean market are record supplies, ending stocks and use ratios in the U.S., he said.
“I’m very interested to see what that Brazilian crop forecast will be,” he said, noting that a smaller-than-expected crop in Brazil could be interpreted by the market as being price supportive.
Prices and production remain the biggest question for the cotton market as speculations on China’s return to the market continue and forecasts for a wetter-than-normal growing season are anticipated.
Area expansion in all six rice-producing states and record yields have pushed rice supplies into a ballooning situation, Deliberto said.
“We have to see increased movement on rice, especially on long-grain rice, to support the price,” he said, adding that purchases of any kind would give the struggling market a much-needed shot in the arm.
AgCenter experts presented research data from on-farm and research station trials across the state focusing on strategies aiming to increase yields and save production costs.
AgCenter entomologist Sebe Brown emphasized the importance of a good burndown program, saying he would like to see fields “graveyard dead” before any seed is planted.
“Think of it like a buffet. If you move that buffet four to six weeks before you plant, insects will die or move on,” said AgCenter weed scientist Daniel Stephenson.
A delay of more than eight weeks after burndown will require additional treatment or the buffet will come back, especially in the face of herbicide resistant weeds like pigweed, Stephenson said.
“We have to have a seed treatment in Louisiana,” Brown said, stressing the importance of using treatments in all crops, especially in cotton or if planting into any green material.
There is evidence that the newest three-gene cotton technologies are starting to show failure in the northwestern and central parts of the state, Brown said.
“These three-gene technologies are not bulletproof. You still have to make an application,” he said.
Stephenson said keeping soybean fields weed-free for five weeks after emergence will maximize yield.
Pigweed is the driver that determines the need for a pre-emergence herbicide, but the herbicide choice depends on the weed spectrum in the field, he said
Brown cautioned against overuse of broad-spectrum insecticides that can harm beneficial insects and lessen pest control.
“If you remove all of your beneficial insects, you leave a wide-open door for all pests to come through,” he said.
Brown also noted that farmers can tolerate a greater amount of injury when commodity prices are low.
“We need to preserve yield potential where you can, but you don’t have to be quite as aggressive on insect control when commodity prices are low,” he said.
AgCenter agronomist Josh Copes said winter annual weed pressure is significantly reduced by cover crops, adding that timing of cover crop termination shows minimal impact on final crop stand, plant height, nematode numbers and yields.
Copes said temperature fluctuations and testing water for hardness are some things to monitor before termination of cover crops because unpredictable weather patterns and hard water conditions can cause issues in glyphosate translocation, which will impact cover crop termination.
“Cover crops are like a puzzle,” AgCenter conservation agronomist James Hendrix said. Cover crop systems have specific characteristics based on their intended purpose, requiring suitable soils, equipment, planting and termination strategies.
AgCenter corn and cotton specialist Dan Fromme said uniform emergence is critical in corn in order to assure a good yield.
Looking at nitrogen rates in cotton, Fromme said the tallest and greenest plant will not necessarily make the most cotton.
“If following soybeans or corn with cotton, look at the soil type and follow the lower rate to keep the plant height down,” he said.
AgCenter extension forestry and wildlife agent Luke Stamper gave advice on controlling feral hogs.
“Delineate that period of highest damage susceptibility and apply your resources during those critical periods,” he said.
Stamper recommended a proactive approach for controlling agricultural damage from white-tailed deer, including reducing deer density, improving habitat, working cooperatively with other landowners and enrolling in the Louisiana Deer Management Program (DMAP).
AgCenter extension agent Carol Pinnell-Alisonl provided updates on worker protection standards and reviewed restrictions for pesticide application procedures for workers and handlers.
AgCenter associate vice president Rogers Leonard said the AgCenter is seeking to fill two key positions in the region — a regional extension entomologist and a statewide soil fertility specialist — both based at the Tom H. Scott Research and Extension Center in Winnsboro.
“These positions will bolster the activities at the center and provide some of the best expertise we have in the state,” Leonard said, adding that both positions are expected to be filled before summer.
Farmers register for the Northeast Louisiana Crops Forum held Feb. 7 at the Delhi Civic Center. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter
LSU AgCenter weed scientist Daniel Stephenson talks about herbicide-resistant weeds at the Northeast Louisiana Crops Forum held Feb. 7 at the Delhi Civic Center. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter