By Karol Osborne, LSU AgCenter
ST. JOSEPH, La. — The LSU AgCenter Northeast Research Station collaborated with DuPont-Brazil to host a delegation of Brazilian agricultural producers for an exclusive field tour on Southern agricultural production systems on Aug. 3.
“Addressing an international group provided a unique opportunity to highlight our station research,” said research station coordinator Donnie Miller, who spoke to the group about new herbicide traits and weed management.
The research station marked the first of two stops scheduled in Louisiana, one of several states targeted for the delegation’s U. S. tour.
About 30 producers who account for 25 percent of all soybeans and 35 percent of all cotton produced in Brazil took part in the tour, Miller said.
The group made three stops at the station to hear the latest information on herbicide and weed management, plant pathology, nematode management in soybeans and precision planting technologies.
AgCenter nematode specialist Charles Overstreet discussed different management methods for controlling nematodes. “When talking about root-knot, reniform and soybean cyst nematodes, many of these producers responded that they have the same issues in Brazil, so there was a commonality there,” Overstreet said.
LSU plant pathology students from Brazil Josielle Rezende and Felipe Godoy, who work with Overstreet on research projects conducted at the station, also participated in the tour and took advantage of the opportunity to exchange information with the visiting producers in their native language.
According to Overstreet, Godoy spoke with the Brazilian producers about his research on the white tip nematode that attacks rice in Louisiana.
“Some of these producers are from an area in Brazil experiencing similar problems with the Soja Louca II, or Crazy Soy II in English, disease caused by nematodes in soybeans,” Overstreet said.
AgCenter plant pathologist Trey Price said the producers were looking for answers they could use and were interested in management strategies for disease resistance and the technologies available.
“It’s no cake walk to make a crop in Louisiana,” Price said. “We have a lot of problems to overcome to make a crop, and they do, too.”
Price noted many parallels between agricultural production in Louisiana and Brazil and focused on the development of resistant varieties and implementation of integrated management techniques when fungicides fail.
He cited one major difference: The climate in Brazil allows for a longer growing season.
New restrictions in Brazil requiring producers to stop production during certain months in order to reduce disease pressure was of specific interest, he said.
Price noted that when planting and harvesting at the same time, which is done in year-round farming in Brazil, disease pressure is incredible because the host, pathogens and right environmental conditions are always there.
AgCenter extension agent R.L. Frazier gave updates on how optical sensors and digitally generated data using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are being used to capture normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Frazier said NDVI, a measure of the ratio of reflected light and absorbed light by a plant, is used to describe general plant health.
“Preliminary results show that data we have collected from optical sensors compared with UAV-generated data are very close,” he said, “so there is great potential for using UAVs to generate a prescription map for applying nutrients on cotton, corn and sugarcane.”
Frazier said the Brazilian producers have the same questions as most local farmers regarding average flight time, number of acres covered and turn-around time for getting and analyzing results.
AgCenter agronomist and weed scientist Josh Copes discussed the benefits of a new precision planter.
“The producers were very interested in how the planter can be used to generate large amounts of on-farm data and the recommendations that can be made based on harvest data and soil zones,” Copes said.
Data maps such as yield by soil zone, variety and plant population can be developed and used for recommendations for specific zones within a field.