Saturday, July 12, 2014

LA Crop Research

So that LA would be Louisiana, where I went last week to check on some contract research tests down there.  Loyal readers will recall that I have reported for years here in the blog about the Louisiana fertilizer plots on various Southern crops.  One of those is sugarcane.  This test in Cheneyville which is just South of Alexandria, and is with contract researcher Grady Coburn shown below.  Grady is well known in Louisiana as a consultant, crop scout and researcher.
This is our second test on newly planted sugarcane, or plant cane, at this location.  This crop was planted last fall by laying cane pieces in the ground and then bedding them up.  They would emerge in the spring.  However, this place is on the northern part of the sugarcane growing area of the state, and last winter was unusually cold for this part of the South.  In fact they had several snows with total amounts of 12 inches, which hardly ever happens.  But the cold was hard on the planted cane pieces, and it killed some of the buds which limited emergence in some parts of some plots as seen below. Additionally, some shoots are still emerging which also is a symptom of cold injury.  Also visiting the site is agronomist Reid, new SAM Brady and RSM Sean.  Adjustments will have to be made for this stand reduction and late emergence.  It may be that the whole thing will have to be scrubbed and re-planted.  So while they didn't have to deal with a whole winter of snow like much of the country, including Michigan, winter did rear its ugly head down here too.  (Never understood the phrase rear its head.  Seems contradictory.)
We could see some growth differences though.  Below is a plot that just had nitrogen only, no P, K, S or anything else.  The N is 32% UAN injected into the beds after emergence.  (That's the rear of Brady's head.  Now I didn't say ugly.)
Here is a conventional dry fertilizer plot, which had dry P, K and S spread and lightly incorporated prior to emergence in the spring.  It also had the 32% UAN injection.  It is certainly taller than the previous plot, so you can see the effects of the extra nutrition.
But here is a plot that had Pro-Germinator + Kalibrate + accesS + Micro 500 knifed in prior to emergence, and then received an N injection of 32% with eNhance.  It was noticeably taller and darker green.  We will see how it turns out come fall harvest.  We also have a foliar application of NResponse for some plots planned.  So stay tuned.  Too bad about the cold damage though, as it affected plots differently.  But they only hand harvest a portion of the plot anyway.  Every year I keep volunteering Reid to be there to help, but he is always busy that day.  Maybe this year.
Here is new SAM Brady standing next to some experimental corn that is taller than he can reach. However, Brady is only 4 feet tall.  He is new with AgroLiquid having just graduated from West Texas State University.  But he has a strong ag background and is familiar with Liquid from his association with personnel at Patton Custom Fertilizer in Sunray, Texas.  Brady will spend the rest of the summer in training, including time at the NCRS, to prepare him to be released into his new territory.  Where will that be?  I won't say now so as not to make those people nervous.  But I can tell that he will be a good SAM once he gets some more fertilizer learnin'.  (And he really is taller than 4 feet.)
After that we went down the road towards Lafayette where we have some more research plots at yet another contract researcher.  Below we again Brady, Reid and Sean with researcher John Lee.  They are looking at a soybean test.
Here we are testing some different fertilizers applied as in-furrow or foliar, but on narrow or wide rows.  In this case the narrow rows are 19" apart and the wide rows are 38".  It seems that 38" is the common width for cotton, and a lot of planters around here are set up this way.  Some have interplant boxes to enable narrower rows that will yield higher than wide rows.  There is always concern with in-furrow fertilizer applications in wide rows and the potential for stand reduction from fertilizer contact.  It's usually safe enough in narrower rows.  But we will see here on this light textured ground.  
We also have fertilizer test in cotton.  It all looks good right now.  By then the sky was getting dark as rain clouds were rolling in.  It was humid and in the 90's, so conditions were right for thunderstorms. 
There was very heavy rain with lightning and thunder.  Reid was driving his trusty Taurus.  I told him he needed a new pair of windshield wipers.  But he said they are hardly ever used where he lives in South Texas and they were out of shape.
We drove down to New Iberia.  There is a lot of sugarcane down there.  And they weren't affected by the cold like that back to the North. It stopped raining long enough for me to take this picture as we headed back towards Alexandria.  Crop looks good to me.
And here is the other reason I like coming to Louisiana: the food.  We were told to eat at the Red River Grill in the small town of Marksville.  Not even sure where it is, somewhere towards Alexandria.  But it lived up to the billing as a great place to eat.  As is my custom, here is a picture of my meal.  It is an order of Pecan Crusted Soft Shell Crab with lump crabmeat and Creole Bearnaise.  (That's interesting having crab with lump crabmeat on top.  Maybe sometime I'll order steak with lump steakmeat on top.) And I think those are green beans on the right.  It all tasted as good as it looked.
Well that was a long day for sure.  But the next day was also an adventure.  Come back for that later.