Louisiana Agriculture Spring 2004, Vol. 47, No. 2, 40 pages
Rice farmers soon will have two more weapons in their arsenals for fighting stink bugs and rice water weevils.
The salinity of ground water and surface water used for irrigation will always be a concern for Louisiana farmers. Analyses of long-term data on Red River water quality collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and of water samples collected by farmers and county agents and analyzed by the LSU AgCenter indicate the Red River can safely be used as a source of irrigation water.
When drought hit Louisiana in 2000 and 2001, along with the construction of a power plant in the heart of the rice-growing area, interest in water consumption reached a peak among farmers and other water consumers. To find out how much water was used and needed for rice production, a team of LSU AgCenter scientists and extension agents began a study.
In today’s changing global economy, traditional agricultural enterprises and industrial recruitment can no longer be depended on to bring jobs to rural Louisiana. Social and economic forces that once encouraged industry to relocate to the rural South now lure manufacturing out of the country.
Louisiana is known as a sportsman’s paradise and the bayou state. When people think Louisiana, they think cypress trees, alligators, seafood, fishing, hunting and trapping. The common thread that runs through all of these images is water.
A major objective of the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act is to evaluate, demonstrate and implement best management practices (BMPs) to improve water quality. Because applied agricultural chemicals and sediment are potential contributors to nonpoint-source pollution, it is essential to quantify each commodity’s contribution to water quality problems and evaluate BMPs that can improve water quality.
From the rich coastal waters along the Gulf of Mexico to the freshwater rivers, streams and lakes north of the coastal zone, water resources are an integral part of life in Louisiana. Historically, the challenges pertaining to water have been linked to flooding of developed areas caused by excessive rainfall or increased flow from the Mississippi River.
Because of the importance of environmental issues in Louisiana, the LSU AgCenter created a Watershed Education Initiative in 2001. Several extension faculty members were reassigned as watershed educators, and in 2002, the program was launched to assist in the conservation and restoration of the state’s aquatic ecosystems and protection of human health.
These articles appeared in the spring 2004 issue of Louisiana Agriculture
Groundbreaking for the Louisiana Emerging Technologies Center will be sometime in June, with completion expected the following spring, said Paula Jacobi, CEO of the LSU System Research and Technology Foundation, which will oversee the center.
LSU AgCenter scientists have joined with scientists from the LSU Wetland Biogeochemistry Institute and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a research project to determine and demonstrate which soybean tillage practices are most effective in reducing pollution. Reducing the amount of runoff from soybean fields means less sediment, fertilizer and pesticide entering local waterways.
LSU AgCenter research teams are evaluating water quality in the Cole Gully area on the Bayou Plaquemine-Brule in Acadia Parish and in Bayou Wikoff north of Lafayette. Each study area comprises a watershed identified and selected by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
Increased water demand in the face of an essentially fixed fresh water supply and increased pollution of existing supplies by inadequately treated waste discharge have been identified as problems in Louisiana. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of treating contaminated water such as municipal wastewater with a by-product of tree nut production in Louisiana, namely, pecan shells.
Louisiana’s coastal waters, lakes, rivers and bayous are the lifeblood of the state. They have provided economic survival and year-round recreation, earning the state the well-deserved title of “Sportsman’s Paradise.”
Two sweet potato varieties developed by the LSU AgCenter recently were awarded U.S. patents – the first ones given to sweet potatoes.
Aquaculture operations worldwide have come under scrutiny because of potential environmental degradation caused by the discharge of water from production facilities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing aquaculture as an industry for regulatory activity. Most of Louisiana’s 129,000 acres of crawfish ponds are located in southwestern and south central Louisiana in water basins identified by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) as impaired.
Louisiana is naturally blessed with an abundance of bayous, rivers, lakes and aquifers. While the state has more surface water available (84 percent) than any other state in the United States, rapid urbanization and intensive agricultural and forestry practices have increased the potential for deterioration of the quality of the state’s surface waters.
Atrazine is a herbicide commonly used for the control of broadleaf weeds in corn, grain sorghum, sugarcane and turfgrass. Although widely used in Louisiana since the early 1960s, atrazine has recently become the center of controversy in south central Louisiana.
David J. Boethel, former associate vice chancellor at the LSU AgCenter, became vice chancellor for research and director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station effective April 19.
In January 2001, the LSU AgCenter offered the first Louisiana Master Farmer training session in Vermilion Parish. More than 60 producers attended to become more knowledgeable about Louisiana environmental regulations, specifically water quality and nonpoint-source standards.
Richard Latiolais gazed over the emerald field of an emerging wheat crop near Palmetto in St. Landry Parish.“This is all fresh ground,” he said. “We precision-leveled it last summer.” He is a participant in the LSU AgCenter's Master Farmer Program directed by Carrie Mendoza.
Because the land is so flat, water flow in Bayou Plaquemine Brule and its tributaries, including Cole Gully, is sluggish and reaeration potential is low. Consequently, inputs of oxygen-depleting materials, such as dissolved or suspended organic material or ammonical nitrogen, are expected to aggravate this naturally oxygen-poor condition.
Researchers at the LSU AgCenter’s Macon Ridge Research Station at Winnsboro have found a way to irrigate their fields during the summer without resorting to pumping water from wells. They’ve created a 16-acre pond they fill with surface water during the winter and use for irrigation in the summer.
The Board of Regents and the LSU Board of Supervisors recently approved the establishment of the Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy at the LSU AgCenter.