In this article:
|2018 Louisiana Soybean & Grain Research and Promotion Board Report|
|2018 Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board-funded projects|
|AgCenter scientist closes in on better sprayer cleanout|
|AgCenter scientists study new ways to control weeds|
|Agricultural economists explore tools, models to maximize irrigation efficiency|
|Connection between defoliation and corn yield studied|
|Corn, soybean studies search for improved yields|
|Cover crop research improving yield, enhancing soil health|
|Feral hog bait delivery system being studied|
|Hollier retires from plant pathology|
|LSU AgCenter researcher looks at no-till systems|
|Making informed decisions is critical to turning profit|
|Pest management research could save producers money|
|Plant pathologists studying Cercospora leaf blight, the top soybean disease|
|Researchers studying benefits of sugarcane, soybeans in rotation|
|Scientists developing nanoparticle technology to fight insects|
|Scientists study irrigation practices|
|Scientists study irrigation practices|
|Soil scientists research nitrogen efficiency, silicon for plant protection|
|Soybean studies show soil texture key to predicting nematode damage|
|Three new scientists join AgCenter|
|Understanding of soybean taproot decline disease evolving|
|Unmanned aerial vehicles: A set of eyes in the sky|
|Variety and hybrid trials are building blocks for yield improvement|
An LSU AgCenter researcher is getting closer to developing a better way to clean sprayers that are used to apply farm chemicals.
Zhijun Liu has spent the past two years working to formulate a plant-based solution that effectively removes pesticide residue. Sprayers must be thoroughly cleaned to get rid of leftover product, which can damage the equipment itself as well as subsequent crops being sprayed.
Most farmers depend on herbicides to keep troublesome weed populations in check. But some of these unwanted plants manage to survive regardless of the chemical sprayed on them, creating a supply of seed that fuels future generations of weeds.
Lauren Lazaro, an LSU AgCenter weed scientist, is studying ways to reduce the amount of weed seed left in fields at the end of the season.
Water may not be as scarce in Louisiana as it is out west, but when it comes to irrigation, farmers in our state face challenges with changing governmental regulations, resource availability, environmental sustainability and profitability. A number of LSU AgCenter research projects are addressing these issues.
Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, is overseeing a study of the correlation between defoliation of corn plants and yield.
Corn leaves are being removed at various growth stages, Padgett said, and the amount of leaves removed will be compared to yields.
In a new study measuring various factors affecting corn yield, AgCenter researchers are working to evaluate the effects of tillage, plant populations and fertilizer use along with insecticide rates and fungicide applications.
The research involves deep tillage versus no deep tillage; plant populations of 40,000 versus 32,000 plants per acre; starter fertilizer versus no starter fertilizer; foliar fungicide versus no foliar fungicide; and insecticide rates of Poncho 1250 versus Poncho 250. In addition, a higher rate of fertilizer will be used to compare with the AgCenter recommended rates.
LSU AgCenter scientists are working to determine how winter cover crops grown in the offseason can be used to help farmers improve yields, reduce expenses and enhance soil health.
Changyoon Jeong, LSU AgCenter agronomist, is studying the potential for rapeseed to provide protection against nematodes in soybeans. Rapeseed puts glucosinate into the soil, and that tends to suppress nematodes, he said.
The population of feral hogs in the state is continuing to grow, but LSU AgCenter scientists are working to decrease their numbers.
Researchers at the AgCenter Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station are refining a sodium nitrite bait targeted at the invasive species, said AgCenter animal scientist Glen Gentry.
After 35 years of helping Louisiana farmers fight crop diseases, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Clayton Hollier has retired.
Hollier had a split appointment among extension, research and teaching. He was responsible for plant pathology education programs for rice, small grains, feed grains, sugarcane, ornamentals, turfgrasses and forages. He also had a partial research appointment to assess crop losses from diseases.
Syam Dodla, LSU AgCenter agronomist, is studying fertilization rates in no-till fields for corn and soybeans.
“Compared to conventionally tilled soils, soils in no-till fields have different structure and properties with varying amounts of nutrients found in layers of the soil profile,” he said.
Profitability is essential for a farming operation’s survival. But determining the point where losses turn into profits is always a moving target and consists of many variables.
To help simplify the process, Michael Deliberto, an economist in the LSU AgCenter Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, has helped develop tools that allow producers to input farm operation data and determine the point of profitability using factors such as cost inputs, land rental rates and the market price of the commodity.
New research on pests in soybeans and corn should decrease the amount of money growers spend on pest control.
“After the cold weather we had this winter, we were expecting the numbers of redbanded stink bugs to be lower,” said LSU AgCenter entomologist Jeff Davis.
Breakthroughs in research by LSU AgCenter scientists may soon lead to improved control of Cercospora leaf blight, the No. 1 soybean disease in Louisiana.
Since the discovery illustrating that more than one species of the Cercospora pathogen may be involved in the disease, research to isolate, screen and manage the disease has escalated.
LSU AgCenter researchers are studying cultural practices and fertility management for soybeans.
AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell is conducting his research in southwest Louisiana, while Al Orgeron is working in the southeastern part of the state.
Cristina Sabliov, LSU AgCenter biological engineer, is working with other scientists on a project using nanoparticles carrying insecticides to control insects.
Nanoparticles in the shape of tiny spheres are created by Carlos Astete, LSU AgCenter biological engineer, from a corn protein, zein. They are designed with a positive charge so they will attach themselves to plant tissue.
The 2017-18 wheat crop was outstanding from a production and research standpoint, according to LSU AgCenter wheat breeder Steve Harrison.
Harrison said weather conditions made for a nearly perfect growing season.
“We had the highest yields and the highest quality ever,” Harrison said. “We also had the lowest acreage.”
As irrigation has grown more common on Louisiana farms, LSU AgCenter researchers are studying the most efficient and beneficial ways to apply water to crops.
While farmers implement long-term fixes to improve the soil’s water-holding capacity — such as planting cover crops and experimenting with poultry litter as fertilizer — irrigation is an immediate solution in dry times.
National studies of commercial enhanced-efficiency nitrogen fertilizers on row crops have shown some success in improving efficiency of plant uptake and decreasing losses of greenhouse gases while minimizing nitrate runoff.
Until recently these fertilizer compounds have not been adequately tested in the hotter, more humid South, according to Jim Wang, a soil chemist with the LSU AgCenter.
LSU AgCenter nematode specialist Charles Overstreet has found variable soil textures can affect nematode damage to soybeans, results similar to findings in cotton. His experiments over the past three years, primarily at the LSU AgCenter Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph, also has analyzed nematicide performance against nematodes in soybeans.
The LSU AgCenter recently hired three scientists whose work aims to improve soybean and grain production in Louisiana.
Scientists are gaining new understanding of a disease that has killed soybean plants in several states.
Initially called a “mystery disease” more than a decade ago, soybean taproot decline has become common in Louisiana.
LSU AgCenter agents are moving into the high-tech area when it comes to scouting soybean and corn fields in the state.
For the past three years, AgCenter agents Dennis Burns in Tensas Parish and R. L. Frazier in Madison Parish have used unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, to take whole-field images to assess the health of plants.
Finding a variety or hybrid that will perform to its full potential is a goal all producers strive for. While it may not be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack, it does take a trial-and-error approach.
Helping to mitigate the error part, scientists with the LSU AgCenter continue to conduct core block demonstration plots at sites across Louisiana for crops, including corn, sorghum, soybeans and wheat. These locations serve as test plots for many varieties and hybrids and give producers a firsthand look at how well they will perform based on soil types, insect and disease pressure, cultural practices and other factors.