Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Winter 1999 (in PDF form)
Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Spring 1999.pdf
Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Summer 1999
Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Fall 1999
An LSU Agricultural Center professor received the 1999 Dean Foods Awardat the American Dairy Science Association’s Annual Meeting in Memphis, Tenn.
Annual ryegrass forage is grown onapproximately 300,000 acres in Louisiana each year. It is planted over the entire state on widely diverse soils.Significant variation in ryegrass performance occurs among these diverse production areas, and reduced forage yields on some soils can limit the benefit of ryegrass for livestock producers.
Establishing a full stand of field grown plants is necessary for high yields of vegetables. Unfortunately, the grower can not always control factors that hurt stand establishment, such as soil crusting, temperature extremes and excessive soil moisture.
Helping farm animals have babies efficiently and at the least cost to livestock producers has been the overall goal of the LSU Agricultural Center’s reproductive physiology research program, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Blueberry production contributes to the local economies of several Louisiana communities, particularly in the northwest and southeast areas of the state. In 1997, blueberry production added $1.5 million to the state’s economy
Soon a typical home may include a termite detector aswell as a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector,thanks to Gregg Henderson and Jian Chen of the Departmentof Entomology and Roger Laine of the Department ofBiochemistry.
Before 1996, farmers controlled weeds following cotton emergence almost exclusively by directing herbicides underneath the canopy to minimize injury to the cotton plant.
Survival for many endangered wildlife got a boost recently when representatives from the Louisiana State University system and the Audubon Institute in New Orleans signed an agreement to work more closely together on animal reproduction projects.
The sorghum midge is a key pest of grain sorghum in the United States and can cause serious yield losses in Louisiana.The adult midge is a small, red,gnat-like fly about 1.5 millimeters long.
A historic 150-year-old cotton warehouse on NewOrleans’ riverfront near the Garden District is the test site of a new patented bait system that holds promise of controlling the dreaded Formosan subterranean termite.
Rice plants showing herbicide damage where no herbicides had been applied for several weeks were first found in 1991 in southwest Louisiana.
Because the sorghum midge depends on flowering sorghum to lay its eggs, understanding how the length of the flowering period affects damage can aid in developing more effective programs to manage this key insect pest.
Although a valuable source of protein and other nutrients, chicken leg meat is under used in the U.S. market. It is less desirable to consumers and more difficult to remove from the bone than breast meat.
Thrips are early season insect pests of cotton in Louisiana.Injury to cotton seedlings resulting from thrips’ feeding can delay crop maturity and reduce yields.
The Formosan subterranean termite is a formidable adversary. Foraging aggressively and quickly reducing wooden structures to paper-thin sheaths,this species of termite has been aparticular menace in the New Orleans area for more than 30 years.
Planting soybeans after June 15 is a major production problem in Louisiana. For every day that planting is delayed after June 15, a soybean farmer can expect to lose an average of a half bushel of yield.
In the Coastal Plain of northLouisiana, pastures of annual ryegrassand cereal rye, alone or in combination,are made in late summer and fall to reduce dairy and beef cattle wintersupplemental ration requirements and toenhance overall herd performance.
The most serious problems that face catfish farmers include losses from birdsand diseases, off-flavor and the shortageof labor to harvest fish. These problems have been magnified in recent years asfish farmers have increased stocking andfeeding rates to keep ahead of increasing expenses and competition.
Two serious problems affecting Louisiana aquaculture arethe bacterial pathogens that cause enteric septicemia of catfish(ESC) and photobacteriosis in hybrid striped bass. ESC causes theloss of millions of dollars annually in the catfish industry.
Many of the problems in the catfishindustry are exacerbated by the uncertainty producers face when planning their operations. The sources of risk are numerous,ranging from weather fluctuationsand bird predation to regulatory policy.
Ornamental ponds and water gardens are becoming increasingly popular. It is estimated thatthere are about 40 new ones per week in the vicinity of Baton Rouge alone. This phenomenon offers entrepreneurial opportunities for those interested in aquaculture. These ponds need to be designed, stocked and maintained. Preferable varieties of fish include goldfish and koi.
Although many advances have beenmade during the rapid growth of thecatfish industry, today’s culture practicesare about the same as those developedover 25 years ago.
Although Louisiana already has adiverse aquaculture industry, many morespecies could be grown here or grown ona larger scale. Many prospects present specific problems that could complicate commercial development, but most of these constraints relate to marketing, financing or regulatory considerations, not technical issues.
Sustainability, a concept much discussed in the aquaculture industry,has become associated with the idea that production systems must be designed and sited with consideration of not only their economic viability, but also their long-term environmental and sociological impact.
Most catfish is processed into fresh or frozen fillets and whole-dressed fish. Other products include steaks, nuggets and value-added products, which accounted for 21 percent of the total products sold in1998.
When a gene from one species of plant or animal is inserted in to the genome of another species, the resulting plant or animal is then transgenic.
Crawfish aquaculture in Louisianadepends solely on a forage-based foodsystem for supplying nutrients to thegrowing animals. Because of availableplant residue following grain harvestsand because rice exhibits good regrowth characteristics, crawfish production often follows the rice harvest as a common crop rotation practice
Even though aquaculture, or “farming of the waters,” has been practiced for centuries, it was more “art”than “science” until late into the 20thcentury.
The Aquaculture Research Station is one of 20 branch stations of the LouisianaAgricultural Experiment Station. The facility, which includes more than 200 fish culturetanks, a fish hatchery, an aquaculture greenhouse and a 22,000 square-foot aquacultureresearch laboratory, is three miles south of the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.
The art of feeding fish is thousandsof years old, but the science of fishnutrition began only about 50 years ago.
The two leading diseases affecting the catfish industry are the bacterial pathogens Edwardsiella ictaluri and Flavobacterium columnare(formerly Flexibacter columnaris).
About 10 percent of the annual channel catfish crop is lost to infectious diseases. The most important of these diseases are Edwardsiella ictaluri, Flavobacterium columnare and channel catfish virus.
One problem facing Louisiana’s oyster industry is disease. The major culprits are the protozoans Perkinsusmarinus (Dermo) and Haplosporidium nelsoni (MSX). In the Gulf of Mexico, it is estimated that Dermo infection kills more than half the adultoyster population.
Aquaculture is evolving worldwidebecause of a shortfall of fisheryproducts from oceans and inlandwaters. After World War II, it appearedthat the world’s fisheries resources werevirtually unlimited. World landingsduring 1948 to 1952 averaged 21.9million metric tons per year and rosesteadily until 1968, when increasescontinued but at a slower rate.
Although much genetic research involves developing ways to improve reproduction, it is just as important to develop methods to prevent reproduction.
The domestic crawfish industry isthe only large-scale, commercially viable crustacean aquaculture industry in North America. With more than 110,000 acresof crawfish ponds, Louisiana’s 1,600 farmers produce 35 million to 50 million pounds annually worth $25 million to$35 million at the producer level.
Profitable aquaculture depends on good water quality.Physiologically, aquatic animals respond more intensely to theirenvironment than do terrestrial animals. The stress of poorwater can lead to disease and poor nutrition and growth ofcultivatedaquaticanimals.
The preferred way to cook crawfishis to boil the whole animal in seasonedwater and then serve it so the consumerextracts the abdominal muscle, or tailmeat, by hand.
In much of aquaculture, animals arein high density production systems. Thiscan result in stress from crowding andsub-optimal water quality conditions andprovide for easy transmission of disease.In response to anticipated disease
Geneticists develop maps of DNA molecules to aid in understanding inheritance patterns.One kind of map, called agenetic linkage map, describes inheritanceof observable traits, such as color or shape, and usually involves breeding studiesto compare parents and offspring.
For more than seven decades, catfishfarmers have relied on the warming ofspring to trigger spawning in channelcatfish.
Previous studies with paper mill sludge have shown that this by product of paper manufacturing decreases cotton yields when it is applied either soil incorporated or as vertical mulch.
Poultry litter manure is a renewable fertilizer resource that contains all the plant nutrients required for plant growth and reproduction.
Eutrophication. Pfisteria. Hypoxia.These environmental problems have plagued the Chesapeake Bay area in recent years. According to reports, the problems may be related to the excessive amounts of nutrients – especially phosphorus – that enter the watershed from areas of intensive poultry production surrounding the bay.
Previous research with sugarcane production in Louisianahas shown that semi-banding 10 tons per acre of composted municipal waste under sugarcane rows or placing 40 tons per acre of the compost on top of cane in opened rows at planting can result in increased sugar yields.
It is like turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Participants in the LSU Agricultural Center’s semiannual compost facility operator training school learn to transform garbage into something valued by society.
Can poultry litter be used to fertilize cotton? That’s thequestion an LSU Agricultural Center researcher will attempt toanswer with a new project in northwest Louisiana cottoncountry.
Sewage sludge was the first non-farm organic material to be applied to farm land in large quantities, and it became the first organic material whose application was covered by federal regulations. States now also have regulations governing the land application of sewage sludge.
Certain soils in the southern states may have low pH, low organic matter content and natural shallow hard pans that limit root development.
Research at the LSU Agricultural Center and other land grant universities has shown that non hazardous industrial wastes can be used to enhance the productivity of crops,especially forage crops
This issue of Louisiana Agricultureis devoted to Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station (LAES) research programs that focus on the beneficial recycling or reuse of organic wastes.
To many gardeners and horticulturaloperations, organic matter is considered“black gold.” Since ancient times, it hasbeen used both as a mulch on top of thesoil and as an amendment incorporatedinto the soil.
Automobile tires are accumulating in waste dumpsthroughout the United States. Research exploring the useof shredded tires could reduce the number of waste tires.One use is in horticulture
Beneficial use in agriculture of organic wastes generated by municipalities, industry and agricultural commodities is receiving considerable attention as an alternative method of disposal because of the rising costs and environmental concerns associated with present disposal methods.
Disposal of solid waste is a growing concern to municipal officials and corporate managers, and in some sections of thecountry, critical. As the population grows and industrial productionincreases, so does waste. At the same time, disposal costs have increased, often dramatically, because of increased regulationand centralization of waste disposal sites.
Patents are becoming increasingly important to the LSU Agricultural Center and similar institutions across the country, as the cost of research increases and public financial support faces competition from other segments of society.
Soft-shelled crawfish, often referred to as soft crawfish,have been consumed in Louisiana for many years. Commercial production of soft crawfish follows the annual molt cycle.
Row crop producers have always had an idea of how yield varied in different parts of their fields. By looking at the crop before harvest and visually monitoring yield during harvest, they could see general yield patterns and speculate on why they occurred.
Camptotheca acuminata, a deciduous tree native to southern China, contains camptothecin (CPT). In 1996, the FDA approved two CPT derivatives for treating ovarian and colorectal cancer.
New technology using computers and satellites has madeit possible to measure the variability of nutrients within a fieldand vary the rate of applied fertilizer based on need.
The furniture industry uses overlaid panels as flat, straight elements in furniture and cabinet construction. The panels are often in 3-ply or 5-ply construction with a thick core and thin overlays. Occasionally, 2-ply overlaid panels, which are particle board or medium density fiberboard overlaid on the visible face only, are used for economical reasons.
Most commercial cow-calf herds in Louisiana and in the southeastern United States include fewer than 100 animals and consist of crossbred combinations of Brahman, British, Continental and possibly dairy breeds.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the LSU Agricultural Center are beginning a 5- to 10-year project involving drainage systems for sugarcane production that could result in environmental and economic benefits.
Nursery crop production in Louisiana and across the southeastern United States has experienced unprecedented growth in the past decade. In 1998, Louisiana ranked 17th nationwide in wholesale sales of nursery crops with more than $107 million and 20th nationwide in retail sales of lawn and garden products with $1.4 billion.
In 1998, the equine industry contributed an estimated $41 million in gross farm income and an additional $89 millionin value-added and related activities to Louisiana’s $1.5 billion animal industry.
The tarnished plant bug is becoming a major cotton pest in the mid-South states of Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. In 1998, the tarnished plant bug caused a loss of more than 14,000 bales of cotton in Louisiana, even though more than $5.5 million was spent to control it.
Cotton is a perennial that continuesto grow vegetatively during reproductive development. A consequence of this characteristic can be excessive vegetative growth under conditions of above optimumsoil moisture and fertility,thereby delaying maturity and increasing the incidence of lodging.
Dairy heifers are at risk for mastitis long before parturition. Recent studiesdocument that these animals can become infected with a variety of mastitispathogens. If undetected and untreated, these infections can often persist through calving and into the first lactation.
Itchgrass, often referred to as Raoulgrass, is a major weed problem in south Louisiana. Yield reductions attributed to itchgrass competition have been as high as 43 percent in sugarcane and 30 percent in corn and soybeans.