Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Feels like it's 500 degrees out. Must be Louisiana in July.

So Monday after the NCRS RFD planning meeting I went down to Lafayette, Louisiana to visit some of the contract research plots there in Arcadiana.  We had some good results on some of the Southern crops, and are hopeful for more of the same this year.  Now I know it has been very hot all over the country, but hot takes on a new meaning in Louisiana with the high humidity.  It was only in the 90's by afternoon, but sweat was rolling freely.  There were plenty of people doing all sorts of outdoor jobs all over the place.  But I would imagine you have to be born and raised there to do it.  I can't see how you could move there from elsewhere and do it.  But I digress, as usual.  First stop in the morning was a visit to our second year sugarcane plots.  We had excellent results last year where Liquid outyielded the conventional dry and UAN.  (Yay! See Research Report or RSFG on Research Tab of web site.) Below we see Sales Account Manager Reid heading down the walk between plots.  By the way, how many know what fire ants are?  I found out the hard way by stopping and standing on an ant hill.  Also made the mistake of wearing shorts and my Keen sandals which enabled easy access to my flesh.  I see how they got their name, but lived to keep plot watching.  I did wear my mud boots the rest of the time though.
We also looked at some dryland cotton plots.  This cotton is small due to late planting due to dryness earlier in the season.  Odd year.  Very dry at the start of the year, and now pretty wet with numerous thunderstorms, almost daily, lately.  This has things looking good now.
Next we went to see our rice plots.  This is the second year of these plots, and also had very favorable results last year.  We were able to produce better yield with fewer application trips last year.  Again, these results are available on the Research web site.  In this part of the world, liquid fertilizer of any kind is viewed as weaker than dry. So this is our challenge.  So far, so good.
We also have several soybean experiments down there.  One is testing Liquid planter-applied and foliar vs dry broadcast (the norm).  One new test this year is using a Liquid input as a soybean seed treatment.  There are some nutrient seed treatments being used, but with some shortcomings.  So we are seeing if Liquid will turn that into a longcoming.  Also there is a repeat of using foliar fertilizers as a way to increase yield of soybeans that have been flooded.  What?  Well soybeans are often grown in rotation with rice in levees.  When there is heavy rainfall, the levees will flood temporarily causing stress to the soybeans.  In experiments last year, we showed that application of foliars, including 2 gal/A of ferti-Rain provided a 3+ Bu/A yield increase at several different floodings.  That was encouraging.
As I said it has been raining alot lately.  And wouldn't you know it, but here is what I was talking about where soybeans in rice levees can flood and cause stress.  Here was a real field with just that.  See how yellow the beans are?  This is just like our plot test last year.  After the ground dried, the fertilizer was applied.  I'm not so sure how it would be if the ground was still wet due to the plants kind of shutting down due to suffocation.  But maybe we could try that in the future.  Aerial appliction makes this easy.  There are lots of aerial applicators down there.  They provide essential services in disease and pest control, and why not add foliar fertilizer application?
And it's no secret to what else I like about Arcadiana: the food.  After a sweltering day, we went back and got cleaned up and cooled down, and went to our favorite restaurant in Lafayette: Randol's.  Not only is the food outstanding, but a Cajun band provides live music to eat by.  Reid didn't feel like dancing, so we left after eating.
Laissez le bon temps roule!