by Don Molino
The Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board has given the LSU AgCenter $1.75 million to fund a total of 62 research and outreach projects in 2016.
"We are grateful that Louisiana farmers, through their checkoff programs, see enough value in our scientists' work to support their research," said Rogers Leonard, AgCenter associate vice president for plants, soils and water resources. "They recognize that the economic return per dollar they invest is worth it."
The funds come from a commodity checkoff program, which collect a percentage of farmers' proceeds from sales of soybeans, corn, wheat and grain sorghum.
"The checkoff program that funds the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board is very important to Louisiana farmers," said board chairman Raymond Schexnayder Jr., of Ventress. "This funding supports LSU AgCenter research that addresses issues specific to Louisiana's unique climate and geography, such as insect and disease pressures that are not prevalent in the rest of the United States."
The projects, which include 21 new studies and 41 that are continuing from previous years, cover all aspects of agricultural production and focus on helping farmers make better management decisions. Among them, Leonard said, are two projects that board members requested: using winter cover crops in conservation programs and the effects of irrigation on phosphorous and potassium in grain crop production.
Other topics addressed in this year's projects include managing the sugarcane aphid in grain sorghum, irrigation system efficiency and water quality, herbicide-resistant weed management, optimizing fertilizer usage, managing diseases in soybeans and corn, and managing feral hog populations. The board is also funding a number of extension on-farm demonstrations, including trials of recommended hybrids and varieties.
"All of these projects have the goal of increasing profits at the farm gate, either by reducing production input costs or improving yield and quality of the crop," Leonard said. "We're very fortunate that the board is funding us at this level in spite of lower yields, prices and acreage for many of these crops in 2015."
Studies funded by the board take place on the LSU campus as well as AgCenter research stations and participating farms around Louisiana.
(This report is a service of the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board)