AgCenter experts present research updates at agricultural consultants conference

(02/17/21) BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU AgCenter researchers shared their latest findings during an online continuing education program for the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association Feb. 10 to 11.

The consultants went online for the Louisiana Agricultural Technology and Management Conference that included sessions for sugarcane, rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, sweet potatoes and grain sorghum.

The presentations can be viewed by LACA members at

The recent cold weather was brought up occasionally during the talks.

At the sugarcane session, Jeff Hoy, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, said cold weather could suppress some sugarcane diseases. “This weather could make a big difference for a lot of things.”

He said stubble cane will be more vulnerable to freeze damage than plant cane.

Kenneth Gravois, LSU AgCenter sugarcane specialist, gave an overview of new varieties and information on the brown stripe syndrome.

He also addressed the cold weather, recalling a cold snap in January 2018 with temperatures in the mid-teens on consecutive nights in Baton Rouge. “Our varieties withstood those temperatures well.”

Gravois reported on the large acreage of older stubble crops because of the acreage planted with the variety L 01-299. He also presented information on a tool to help producers make economic decisions on plowing out and replanting.

Al Orgeron, LSU AgCenter sugarcane pest specialist, talked about new ripener products that are showing good results. He said Roundup PowerMax3 will have a new formulation.

Blake Wilson, LSU AgCenter entomologist, said cold temperatures less than 20 degrees could decrease Mexican rice borer populations, but he said that insect is more cold tolerant than sugarcane borers.

During the rice session, retired LSU AgCenter rice specialist Johnny Saichuk talked about the negative effects of high night-time temperatures on a crop.

Wilson’s insect talk for rice covered rice water weevils. He said protection from weevils in the first crop will carry over to the second crop.

Don Groth and Clayton Hollier, both retired plant pathologists, talked about disease control using fungicides. Groth said Stratego will no longer be available, and the product Gem is being renamed Flint.

Jong Ham, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, said the genetic location has been identified that provides rice plants with resistance to bacterial panicle blight. He also talked about development of new materials to manage bacterial panicle blight.

Adam Famoso, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said the new Provisia variety, PVL03, will be available on a limited basis this year, and it has good potential for farmers. “There hasn’t been anything so far with a major concern.”

He said breeding work will be helped this year with a new computer-based system that will predict how crosses would perform, narrowing the list of potential lines to a smaller number.

Trey Price, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, talked about disease management in row rice. He warned against repeated use of the same fungicides.

Greg Lutz, LSU AgCenter aquaculture specialist, said more research is needed to determine the effects of crawfish on a field’s nutrient levels. He said young crawfish predominantly feed on microbes than on rice plants. He said Chinese crawfish farmers provide feed supplements during the crawfish season.

In the row crops session, Sebe Brown, LSU AgCenter entomologist, said the new product Thryvon is expected to be available in 2022. “I would go so far as to say it’s a silver bullet for thrips.” He said it is also effective on plant bugs.

Price said many seedling diseases can be traced to bad drainage, cool temperatures and poor seed quality. He said cotton leaf rolled dwarf virus was only detected last year in eight out of 256 samples.

Price also said the new product Xyway has been effective against northern corn leaf blight in his trials.

“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this to work and this may have a fit for those planting susceptible hybrids,” he said.

Price said that Teddy Garcia-Aroca, co-advised by Price and Vinson Doyle, identified the fungus responsible for soybean taproot decline as Xylaria necrophora. He said tillage and crop rotation are options for management.

Donnie Miller, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, covered new restrictions and rules by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the use of dicamba.

Brenda Tubaña, LSU AgCenter agronomist, said soil compaction can be caused by heavy equipment and plowing wet soil. Cotton roots grow poorly in compacted soil, she said, and tillage can be used to break the layer of hard pan soil.

Arthur Villordon, LSU AgCenter sweet potato researcher, said he aims to have 50% of the soil covered with vines and leaves within 30 days to suppress weeds and moderate soil temperatures.

Daniel Stephenson, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, said controlling the weed prickly sida can be accomplished by spraying the plants when they are 1 to 2 inches tall with a non-selective and residual product. Stephenson stated that one way to avoid antagonism between glyphosate or clethodim with dicamba is not to mix the herbicides.

Tyler Towles, LSU AgCenter entomologist, said the cold temperatures could subdue redbanded stinkbug populations. Up to 90% of the insects are killed if temperatures stay at 23 degrees or colder for at least seven hours, he said.

Tristan Watson, LSU AgCenter nematologist, said guava root-knot nematode damage can be deceptive in soybeans. “A lot of times the symptoms will look like nutrient deficiency.” He said the pest has been found in Louisiana twice on out-of-state sweet potato seed.

David Moseley, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, talked about his variety trials. He said he wants to study the effects of row spacings at different planting dates.

Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, said saving wheat seed is not recommended. One of many reasons is because it could be infected with the smut fungus. “If you do, you need to treat it with a fungicide.” He said cold weather will slow stripe rust on wheat but the disease will continue to develop when favorable conditions resume.

Rasel Parvej, LSU AgCenter agronomist, said nutrients in the soil varies at different levels. He said sampling subsoil and topsoil will provide a better idea of nutrient levels. He said he is studying fall and spring applications of phosphorous and potassium, and spring applications have shown slightly better results.

2/17/2021 4:58:14 PM
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