Dry weather in northeast Louisiana during the early summer came to an end and drove participants indoors for the annual interagency rolling crop field tour held July 17 at the LSU AgCenter Northeast Research Station near St. Joseph.
“Although the rain canceled the field portion of the tour, all the speakers responded with presentations leading to questions and discussion relevant to emerging issues in the region,” said Dennis Burns, the AgCenter agent who coordinated the event.
The event drew more than 40 participants who heard from experts from the LSU AgCenter, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on common concerns faced by producers.
“The fifth annual rolling crop field tour is a regional interagency initiative that provides a vital opportunity for agency representatives who work together on a daily basis to receive updates on research and outreach programs and discuss how we can enhance our collaborations and better serve our clientele,” said AgCenter regional director Tara Smith.
“At the end of the day, we all want our clientele to be successful, whether it is through research, conservation or the financial support we provide,” said Craig McCain, FSA state director.
Issues with soybean damage attributed to the herbicide dicamba continue to surface as well as problems with off-target movement of the new rice herbicide Loyant, said Donnie Miller, AgCenter weed scientist and northeast station coordinator.
Research looking at the effects of dicamba indicates that plants are more tolerant at vegetative stages, depending on how badly plants were hit and how close to the reproductive stage they were when exposure occurred, Miller said. Rates as low as 1/1,024th of the normal rate have reduced yield 12 percent when applied at reproductive growth stages.
LDAF pesticide director Kevin Wofford said Loyant is taking center stage due to the devastating damage seen in affected soybeans.
“We came into this year anticipating dicamba being the deal, and before we had the first dicamba complaint, we had a Loyant complaint,” he said.
A total of 34 official herbicide-related complaints have been filed as of July 16, Woffard said. He estimates as much as 60 percent of soybean acreage potentially affected by drift or volatilization has not been reported.
Looking at over 20,000 documented acres, he said, the concern in the farming industry is that some soybeans continue to show worsening symptoms as much as six weeks after damage was first noted.
“It is not going away,” he said, adding that problems with these chemicals should not dictate what growers can plant.
A team of AgCenter specialists presented a panel discussion on using wide rows versus narrow rows in soybeans, corn and cotton.
AgCenter soybean specialist Todd Spivey talked about variety selection, planting date, row spacing, seeding rates and environmental factors in achieving optimum canopy closure.
AgCenter plant pathologist Boyd Padgett examined disease management practices focusing on extended leaf wetness periods that may increase risk for fungal diseases like frog eye leaf spot, target spot and aerial leaf blight.
AgCenter entomologist Sebe Brown discussed the importance of following threshold recommendations and explained how sweeping methods may differ based on tighter row spaces where threshold may be reached more quickly.
AgCenter agronomist Dan Fromme discussed air flow and canopy temperature considerations with narrow-row cropping systems in corn and debated cost inputs and yield differences in skip row cotton.
AgCenter agronomist Josh Copes emphasized planting early to outrun weed pressure, using residual herbicides and changing modes of action to combat weed resistance.
Other presentations included:
- Copes reviewed ongoing cover crop research trials at several research stations across the state.
- AgCenter agent James Hendrix provided updates and recommendations on working with producers looking to plant cover crops.
- NRCS resource conservationist Terry Johnston discussed the Working Lands for Wildlife program, a new initiative targeting conservation efforts to improve agricultural and forest productivity while enhancing wildlife habitat on working landscapes.
- LDWF program manager David Breithaupt reviewed two options available for growers in selecting water-holding practices within shallow water habitat development management in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) process.
- AgCenter area wildlife and forestry agent Luke Stamper highlighted research on establishing warm-season deer forages and reviewed considerations for determining an effective nutritional plan based on deer density and nutritional needs of deer populations.
- Winter Quarters Hunting Club manager Justin Forsten gave an overview of on-site deer management efforts regarding food plot management at the club.