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Meetings and Talks 2004
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June 21, 2004.  Dr. Ed Richard (SRU) was invited to present a talk entitled: "Johnsongrass Effects on Sugarcane Growth and Chopper Harvester Efficiency" at the monthly meeting of the Bayoulands Young Farmer's Association in Napoleonville, LA.  There were approximately 20 growers in attendance as well as representatives from consultant groups, ag chemical dealers, equipment suppliers, and various banking institutions in Assumption Parish.


June 25, 2004.  Mr. Jim Simon, newly appointed General Manager of the American Sugarcane League (ASCL), and the ASCL's two agronomists, Mr. Windell Jackson and Mr. Herman Waguespack visited the SRU. The ASCL's membership includes all of the raw sugar factories and most of the sugarcane growers of Louisiana.  The mission of the SRU and the historical association between ARS at Houma, LA and the ASCL, which dates back to the late 1920's, were discussed by Dr. Patrick Jordan, Director of the SRRC, and Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader of the SRU.  The SRU scientists also discussed their individual research programs and identified areas of their research where grower/miller checkoff funds dedicated to research were received through a competitive grants program administered by the ASCL and used to supplement the research effort.


July 12, 2004.  SRU Scientists, Dr. Ryan Viator and Mr. Edwis Dufrene were invited to make presentations during the Annual Contact Committee Meeting of the American Sugar Cane League of the U.S.A.  Mr. Dufrene discussed the performance of the newly released sugarcane variety, Ho 95-988, which was bred and selected by SRU scientists.  Dr. Viator discussed a recently completed study evaluating the factors affecting the delivery of clean cane by commercial sugarcane harvesters.  The title of the talk was "Can high quality/low trash cane be delivered to the mill economically?".  The meeting was attended by approximately 250 grower, miller, supplier, and research representatives from throughout the industry.


July 15, 2004.  SRU Scientists, Ed Richard, Rich Johnson, Ryan Viator, and Edwis Dufrene were invited presenters at the 55th annual Lafourche Parish Sugarcane Field Day held in Raceland, LA.  Discussions included:  The release of a new sugarcane variety bred and selected by SRU scientists by Mr. Ed Dufrene; the application of precision agriculture technologies and the need for liming in sugarcane production by Dr. Rich Johnson, management alternatives to handling postharvest residues generated during cane harvesting by Dr. Ryan Viator, and weed control options that growers can use in their fallow fields and at planting by Dr. Ed Richard.  The event was attended by about 175 growers and industry personnel from Lafourche and surrounding parishes.


July 20, 2004.  Dr. Ed Richard was asked to discuss summer and fall sugarcane weed control recommendations to include the reasons as to why specific recommendations were made and the factors that may affect the success of a particular weed management program to a group of about 50 sugarcane growers from Vermillion Parish.  Mr. Edwis Dufrene was asked to discuss the performance of Ho 95-988, a newly released variety that was bred and selected by SRU scientists at the 22nd annual Area-wide Sugarcane Field Day that was held at the LSU AgCenter's St. Gabriel Sugar Research Station. The event was attended by about 175 growers and industry personnel from the surrounding parishes.


July 21, 2004: Dr. Ryan Viator was invited to speak at the Lafourche Sugar's annual pre-harvest meeting in Thibodaux.  The purpose of the meeting was to stress the importance of growers delivering cane that is fresh and as free of extraneous matter (leaves, tops, soil, etc.) as possible.  Dr. Viator discussed the results of an ongoing study evaluating the influence of extractor fan speed on trash removal and sugar yields during the harvesting of green cane.  Dr. Viator's presentation included an economic assessment clearly demonstrating that growers would profit directly by sending less non-sugar containing matter to the factory through improved harvesting efficiency.


July 25 - 28, 2004:  Dr. Richard Johnson attended the 7th International Conference on Precision Agriculture that was held in Minneapolis, MN from  July 25th to July 28th.  During the meeting Dr. Johnson presented a paper entitled: A Comparison of Conventional and Variable Rate Lime Application Methods in South Louisiana Sugarcane Fields.


July 27- 30, 2004:  Sugarcane field days sponsored by the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service were held in the parishes of Assumption (July 27), St. Mary (July 28), Iberia (July 29), and St. Martin/Lafayette/St Landry (July 30).  Dr. Ed Richard discussed summer and fall sugarcane weed control recommendations at the Assumption Parish Field Day; Dr. Ryan Viator discussed agronomic practices to be considered at planting at the parish field days in Assumption, St. Mary, and Iberia; and Mr. Edwis Dufrene discussed the performance of Ho 95-988, a newly released variety that was bred and selected by SRU scientists at all four field days. The events were attended by about 600 growers and industry personnel from the sponsoring and surrounding parishes.


July 30 - August 4, 2004: Dr. Michael Grisham of the Sugarcane Research Unit, SRRC, Houma, Louisiana, presented a poster coauthored by Dr. Yong-Bao Pan, also of the SRU, entitled "A Genetic Shift in the Predominant Virus Strain Causing Mosaic in Louisiana Sugarcane" at the Annual Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society in Anaheim, California.  Dr. Grisham also participated in the Tropical Plant Pathology Committee planning session and was nominated to serve on the committee for a three-year term.


August 12, 2004:Dr. Ed Richard, SRU Research Leader, was invited to discuss summer and fall sugarcane weed control recommendations during the St. James and Ascension Parishes' Researcher Appreciation Banquet.  The event was attended by about 200 growers and industry personnel from the sponsoring parishes. Dr. Ed Richard also participated as a committee member in the first meeting of the Agricultural Advisory Planning Committee for the newly formed Department of Biological and Agricultural Sciences at Nicholls State University (NSU) in Thibodaux, LA.  The Sugarcane Research Unit employs a number of graduates from the NSU Ag Program.  Dr. Richard was asked to serve on the committee to assist the Department Head and faculty in the development of an ag program that meets student and potential employer needs.


September 16, 2004: Dr. Ryan Viator was invited to discuss the effects of chopper harvester settings on cane quality and yield at the Cajun Sugars Corporation's preharvest grower meetings in Bunkie, LA and New Iberia, LA.   The two events were attended by about 100 growers who ship sugarcane to Cajun Sugars for processing.  Dr. Viator was also elected to serve a second 2-year term on the Louisiana State University Ag Alumni Advisory Board.


September 27, 2004:Drs. Bill White and Ed Richard participated with members of the LSU AgCenter, Texas A & M, the American Sugar Cane League, USDA-PPQ, and concerned grower and mill representatives in a meeting called by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) to discuss the migration of the Mexican Rice Borer, a threat to all southern grass crops including sugarcane, northward through Texas and into the developing Texas Sugar Industry in the Beaumont area.  As a regulatory agency, the LDAF was soliciting comments before instituting restrictions on the entry of sugarcane from this area of Texas into Louisiana for processing.


September 28, 2004:Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader, represented the SRU in a meeting with members of the Audubon Sugar Institute to discuss the potential use of sugarcane as a renewable energy crop and the possibility of developing a cooperative research proposal dealing with the development of "energy canes" and processes to produce value-added products to include sugar, ethanol, electricity, and CO2 credits from the identified sugar/energy canes.  Proposals developed would have ARS taking the lead in varietal development and assisting AgCenter scientists in developing cultural and pest management practices to insure profitable yields.


October 11, 2004: Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist,   visited the pre-k class of Thomas Gibb's Elementary School in St. Mary Parish.  Dr.  Viator discussed growing pumpkins - a timely topic for the Halloween season, and presented a demonstration on the life cycle of plants.


October 20, 2004:Dr. John Veremis, Research Geneticist, participated on the advisory board of Tulane University's National Institute for Global Environmental Change's Southcentral Research Center on Tulane's campus in New Orleans.  The charge of the advisory board was to review the Center's annual plan, advise its director on the soundness of the plan, and identify possible future directions for the research funded by the center.


October 21-22, 2004: Drs. Ed Richard, Michael Grisham, William White, Richard Johnson, and Ryan Viator were invited to participate in the annual LACA-sponsored researcher retreat in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  Sugarcane consultant concerns discussed at the meeting included:new and existing weeds, diseases and insect pests and their economic management; soil pH and fertility recommendations; the application of precision agriculture technologies to the culture of sugarcane; changes in agronomic practices and their impact on yield; and varietal performance.  The interchange afforded SRU scientists with opportunities to identify new areas of research that could have an immediate impact on the Unit's stakeholders.  Approximately 30 participants took part in the segment of the retreat devoted to sugarcane.


October 27, 2004: The Mexican Rice Borer (MRB) is a significant pest of sugarcane in south Texas and is a potential threat to the Louisiana sugar industry as it migrates north.  Sugarcane varieties in the latter stages of testing for commercial release in Louisiana were planted by Drs. Bill White and Ed Richard on October 27th at the Texas Agriculture Experiment Station at Weslaco, Texas.   As part of a cooperative effort between Texas A & M, SRU, LSU AgCenter, and American Sugar Cane League researchers, these varieties will be evaluated for their yield potential and resistance to the MRB.  In addition to the valuable information gained on the potential resistance of varieties to the MRB, superior yielding varieties ultimately could be released for commercial planting in south Texas.


October 28, 2004: Separate "sugar" and "energy" cane varietal trials were planted at Winnie, Texas by members of the SRU's Breeding CRIS project and cooperating university scientists associated with Texas A & M University's Beaumont Rice Research Station.   The historically rice area of the state has a small (1,000 acre) sugarcane industry and is in the process of conducting feasibility studies to develop a 35,000+ acre biofuels industry using cane varieties being cooperatively developed in Louisiana by SRU, LSU AgCenter, and American Sugar Cane League researchers as the principal feed stock.  Similar trials were initiated in southeast and southwest Louisiana in an attempt to identify new uses for the cane plant.


October 31-November 4, 2004:  Dr. Sarah Lingle attended the annual ASA.CSSA, SSSA Meeting in Seattle, Washington on and presented a paper titled: "Expression of sucrose metabolism genes in developing internodes of contrasting sugarcane genotypes".


November 29-December 2, 2004: Dr. Yong-Bao Pan, Research Plant Molecular Geneticist, was invited to attend the International Symposium on Sustainable Sugarcane and Sugar Production Technology held in Nanning, China.  During the symposium, he chaired a session on Molecular Biology/Biotechnology/ Tissue Culture Techniques and presented a paper on his recent research to develop new, Saccharum spontaneum cytoplasm-derived, sugarcane germplasm using both molecular and conventional methods.  Participants included 278 representatives of academia, industry, and government from 18 countries.


December 8-10, 2004:SRU scientists, Drs. Ed Richard and Bill White were invited by Imperial Bioresources LLC to Brawley, California, to assist in the development of integrated weed and insect management programs that could be used by the company's grower members.  Members are exploring the possibility of integrating the culture of sugarcane with sugar beets in a scheme that will ultimately result in the production of sugar, ethanol, electricity, and perhaps other bio-based products from these crops.  An integral part of an integrated pest management system is the use of resistant varieties.   The SRU will be providing assistance in this area by supplying sugarcane varieties having potential resistance to the complex of stem borers identified during the visit.


December 14, 2004: Dr. Ed Richard, SRU Research Leader, was invited to provide an update of the SRU's research activities during the Sugarcane Session of the exchange meeting held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The update included a discussion of the SRU's cooperative efforts with AgCenter researchers as well as the SRU's expanded research efforts in varietal development for the production of sugar, ethanol, and other value-added products and green-cane harvesting.  In attendance were researchers and County Agents within the AgCenter's various departments as well as members of the Farm Bureau and the American Sugar Cane League (commodity group).