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Posts Tagged ‘louisiana department of agriculture and forestry’

LSU AgCenter press release

Distributed 12/14/10

 The Mexican rice borer, a threat to sugarcane and rice, has moved eastward from Texas extending farther into Louisiana 

The insect was first found in Louisiana in December 2008 north of Vinton.

On Nov. 22, 2010, four male adults were found in a pheromone trap about six miles southwest of Sulphur, according to Gene Reagan, LSU AgCenter entomologist. Chris Carlton, director of the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum, confirmed that these trap catches were Mexican rice borers.

“This trap location is adjacent to a grassy area where no crops are grown, and it is within 15 to 18 miles of commercial sugarcane fields south of Lake Charles,” Reagan said.

Reagan’s graduate student, Julien Beuzelin, said the traps are set out by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. “Without their work, it would have not been possible to detect this insect’s movement,” Beuzelin said.

He said the LDAF had planned to end the monitoring program in early December, but after the Nov. 22 samples were found, the department has decided to continue the program into the spring.

Beuzelin said the discovery is a reliable indicator that the pest is continuing to move eastward in Louisiana.

“Since first being found in south Texas in 1980, they have consistently expanded their range along the Gulf Coast,” Beuzelin said.

In 2006, the Mexican rice borer was found in east Texas just one county away from Louisiana, and it was anticipated that it would be found in Louisiana in 2008. Only two weeks before the end of 2008, borers showed up in two pheromone traps five miles apart on the Louisiana-Texas line north of Vinton.

A 2007 study by LSU and Texas A&M projected an annual $45 million loss of revenue for Louisiana rice farmers once the entire state is infested.

The estimated damage for sugarcane is projected at up to $220 million in the next few years. Mexican rice borers are not obvious pests in rice until the crop is in the boot stage. But by the time it is found within rice plants, Reagan said, studies with Texas colleagues show that the population jumps rapidly. Reagan said that prompted the question to arise regarding the pest’s overwintering habitat.

Between growing seasons, the insect is found in high numbers in grasses such as Johnsongrass and vaseygrass.

Once the insect bores into sugarcane, insecticides don’t work well because the cavity created by the borer is filled with chewed plant material, frass, blocking a chemical’s entry, he said.

Insecticides work better on the pest in rice, Reagan said. However, three applications may be required in some east Texas areas. 

A new seed treatment, Dermacor, appears to help control the pest in rice. Originally, Dermacor was developed as a seed treatment for drill-seeded rice against the rice water weevil.

# # #

Contact: Gene Reagan at 225-578-1827 or treagan@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Bruce Schultz at 337-788-8821 or bschultz@agcenter.lsu.edu

To learn more about Mexican Rice Borer you can visit: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/communications/publications/Publications+Catalog/Crops+and+Livestock/Insect+and+Disease+Control/rice/Mexican+Rice+Borer+Identification+Card.htm.

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Last night my husband and I had the pleasure of attending the 13th Annual Louisiana Farmer of the Year Banquet.  This event was held at White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, La.  The banquet is co-sponsored by the LA Agri-News Network, LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The honor of Louisiana Farmer of the Year is a high honor, which was recently bestowed on one of our rice farmers – Mr. Richard Fontenot (2008) – from Ville Platte, Louisiana.  Last night, as I rushed in out of the rain, I was greeted by Adam Berkin, the son of Jeff-Davis Parish rice farmer Kevin Berkin.  Kevin was one of three finalist for the farmer of the year award.  The other two finalists were Larry Fontenot, a sweet potato farmer from Ville Platte and William Stutts, a grain farmer from West Carroll Parish.

After comments from Commissioner Strain, Chancellor Richardson, and a warm welcome from the LA Agri-News Network, we were introduced to the featured speaker – Mr. Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Bob Stallman is a rice and cattle producer who hails from Columbus, Texas.  Bob had done his research on the importance of agriculture to the economy of Louisiana.  He made some interesting comments about the origins of commercial rice production, which began in southwest Louisiana.  Seaman Knapp, USDA Scientist, was the first to introduce rice production to this part of the US.  Land was secured and farmers were recruited from the northern climes of America.  Many of those currently farming in southwest Louisiana have a heritage that goes back to this original group of farmers.  Knapp’s vision for demonstrating farming practices on producer land, lead to the concept of the Cooperative Extension Service.  Knapp also created the “corn clubs” which eventually developed into the 4-H program.  Next time you are on the Baton Rouge Campus, you might want to stop by and visit Knapp Hall – which was named after the Father of the Extension Service.  Knapp was also memorialized by the Knapp Arch at the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC.  During my first visit to DC, I came out of the subway stop and the first thing I saw was the Knapp Arch.  It really is a deserving memorial for a visionary man.

Mr. Stallman also talked about the possible impact of cap and trade legislation on American Farmers.  He told us about a campaign that is currently underway.  Farmers are being encouraged to take a farming ball cap (preferably a clean one), sign their name on the cap, and deliver it to their local legislature with the message “don’t cap our future”.  It’s an interesting campaign that is having an impact.  Bob also talked about the importance of farmers communicating with the public about the value of agriculture in America – he mentioned the AFBF Facebook fan page, of which I am a “fan”.  Using this social media, they are reaching a new audience.  If you are on facebook, you may want to visit the site, which posts important announcements about policy impacting agricultural production.

The evening climaxed with the announcement of the winner, Mr. Stutts was announced as the Louisiana Farmer of the Year.  My heartfelt congratulations go out to Mr. Stutts, and the other nominees for farmer of the year.  They are all great men, who have made significant contributions to agricultural production in Louisiana.  All of these men were joined by their families and children, who are proudly following in their footsteps.

During concluding remarks, Don Molino, reminded us that “if you ate today, thank a farmer”.  That’s a great message to share with the general public.

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The LSU AgCenter is fortunate to have a very positive working relationship with the LDAF.  I want to make sure you are aware of these outreach sessions that will be attended by Commissioner Mike Strain.  Below is an announcement from LDAF.

In March 2010, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) will host nine outreach sessions throughout Louisiana.  The sessions are designed to inform the agricultural community, decision-makers and the general public about LDAF’s mission and responsibilities.

The LDAF staff would like to meet you and hear your comments, questions and concerns. Based on your input, LDAF will be able to address pressing needs regarding agriculture and rural economic development in ways that will be beneficial for everyone.

LDAF offices that will be represented at the sessions are:

  • Forestry
  • Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
  • Agro-Consumer Services
  • Animal Health & Food Safety
  • Soil & Water Conservation
  • Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority
  • International Trade (Southern United States Trade Association)

Commissioner Mike Strain will attend each of the sessions.  Local elected officials have been invited to attend the outreach sessions to learn more about the concerns of the agricultural community how they may play a role in helping meet those needs.

The outreach sessions will be held at nine different locations throughout the state:

  • Monday, March 1                  LDAF Monroe District Office, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 3           LDAF Haughton District Office, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 8                  Welsh Community Center, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 10         Peltier Park, Thibodaux, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 15                Louisiana Emergency Shelter, Alexandria, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 16                LDAF Hammond District Office, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 17         Opelousas Civic Center/LDAF District Office, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 18              East Jefferson Library, Metairie, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 19                    LDAF Baton Rouge Office – Ag Day, 2-4:00 p.m.

The LDAF wants to meet you and hear your thoughts and comments.  Mark your calendars with the upcoming dates so you will not miss this opportunity!  For more information, visit us on Facebook or www.ldaf.state.la.us or call Dr. Carrie Castille at 225-922-1234.

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