AgCenter Field Days for young & old

Robinson and his grandson, Arthur Moses III, were at the LSU AgCenter's Morehouse/Ouachita Parish Field Day.

Robinson says he's been attending such LSU AgCenter activities for several years and that he believes the educational material provided at these events is beneficial. He wants his grandson to be introduced to this type of material.

"He may be a farmer one day, and he'll need to know this stuff," Robinson said. "I've been coming to these field days for years and have learned a great deal myself. I want him to know what information is out there to help him if he decides to be a farmer."

In addition to his grandfather, Moses' uncle, Charles Robinson of Bonita, is a farmer. Charles Robinson farms corn and cotton.

With farming in the family's blood, Luther Robinson said his grandson may decide to follow that career path.

"A lot of young people today don't even think about farming as a way of life," Robinson said. "But he may decide farming is what he wants to do."

Moses said he does like some aspects of farming.

"It's fun to go out in a field and deal with plants and stuff," he said. "I like looking at the different plants and watching them grow."

Information that Moses and others who attended the Field Day were given included an update on the Louisiana corn crop. David Lanclos of the LSU AgCenter's Dean Lee Research Station near Alexandria said "there's a lot to talk about" regarding this year's corn crop.

"We estimate the state's corn acreage to be at 500,000 acres," Lanclos said. "The intended acres were a little higher, but there was a shift in corn acreage as cotton began to be planted."

Lanclos said he has been getting calls about phosphorus deficiencies in some fields. The phosphorus problems were early season problems that some of the corn crop experienced after going through a cool and wet period for about three weeks, he said.

The European corn borer is another culprit that's showing up in this year's corn crop, Lanclos said. This insect was recently found in a Morehouse Parish field.

"The European corn borer wasn't on the state's map 30 years ago," he said. "We believe reduced tillage may have brought it back – because some fields aren't being tilled as much, and the insects are allowed to stay in the corn stubbles and overwinter. Because of this, they hatch out year after year."

While there have been a few problems with this year's crop, there are positive things a lot of people can be glad about, the LSU AgCenter expert said.

"Those include irrigation and weed control," Lanclos said. "We have data that proves corn does respond to irrigation, and producers who irrigate are seeing the benefits."

Also during the tour, Joel Faircloth gave an update on the state's cotton crop.

"The estimated cotton acreage is about 550,000 acres for the state," Faircloth said. "We've got good boll retention and a good crop overall."

Field day participants also learned that Louisiana crops are being invaded by two nematodes – root knot and reniform. Charles Overstreet, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist in Baton Rouge, said this is not uncommon.

"These nematodes are normally found in cotton," Overstreet said. "Both nematodes have been found in crops statewide. This is not an uncommon situation, but how much of a problem it is depends on how much rainfall the crop has had and what type of nematode is present."

This type of information and much more can be heard at field days/tours held all over the state. For information on when such an event is to be held in your parish, contact your local LSU AgCenter office or see the calendar of events at

Denise Coolman is a writer for the LSU AgCenter.

e-mail: [email protected]

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