Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Docs » Meetings and Talks 2005

Meetings and Talks 2005
headline bar

January 6, 2005: Dr. Rich Johnson, Research Agronomist, and Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, met with the Sugarcane Residue Management Sub-Committee of the South Central Region Advisory Leadership Council at St. Gabriel, LA and presented an update on their post-harvest residue research. Typically residue is burned after harvesting the crop because non-removal reduces yields.  The research discussed included physiological causes for the yield reductions, mechanical removal options, use of biological and chemical adjuvants to increase residue decomposition, use of the residue in conservation tillage, and germplasm development for residue-tolerant varieties.


January 6, 2005: Dr. Ed Richard participated in a committee meeting of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation (LFBF) which in his capacity as Research Leader, he serves on the LFBF's Sugar Advisory Committee as an associate member.  A special meeting of the Committee was called at Port Allen, LA to discuss a number of topics to include:  factors affecting the poor yields in 2004, financing options in light of the reduced yields, problems encountered with farm-bill imposed production controls, and alternate uses of the sugarcane plant and potential benefits to growers and millers.  In addition to actively participating in the discussions, Dr. Richard was asked to provide an update on SRU research activities.


January 12, 2005:SRU scientists met with LSU AgCenter researchers, sugarcane specialists, and county agents to discuss production problems encountered in 2004 and the research conducted to address these problems at the SRU's Sugarcane Research Laboratory in Houma.  SRU scientists presenting research results included: Dr. Rich Johnson (Research Agronomist) and Dr. Ryan Viator (Research Plant Physiologist) on residue management and cultural practices, Dr. Ed Richard (Research Agronomist/Research Leader) on weed control and Dr. Bill White (Research Entomologist) on sugarcane entomology.  Much of the information will also be presented by the various scientists at parish grower meetings held throughout the Louisiana sugarcane belt in the coming weeks.


January 14, 2005:Dr. Ed Richard, SRU Research Leader, was invited to attend a special meeting called by members of the Louisiana sugarcane industry in New Iberia to discuss the potential benefits of introducing genetically transformed sugarcane into the industry.  Increased yields and reduced production costs were identified as potential benefits from the insertion of genes for herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, and cold tolerance.  Obstacles such as varietal development issues, technology fees, and costs associated with the labeling of the technology were also discussed.


January 15-19, 2005: Sugarcane Research Unit scientist Dr. Yong-Bao Pan (Research Plant Molecular Geneticist) presented a paper titled: "Highly polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers for U.S. sugarcane germplasm evaluation and variety fingerprinting" at the International Consortium of Sugarcane Biotechnologists Workshop during the International Plant and Animal Genome XIII Conference in San Diego, CA during January 15 to 19.  ARS scientists Dr. Jack C. Comstock (Canal Point, FL) and Dr. Brain Scheffler (Stoneville, MS) were co-authors of the paper.


January 18, 2005: Dr. Ed Richard, Research Agronomist, was invited to discuss weed management options at the Lafourche Parish Spring Sugarcane Grower meeting.  The meeting was sponsored by the Louisiana Cooperative Extension service and was attended by 60 growers who represented nearly 90% of the sugarcane acreage in the parish.  Sugarcane yields for the last three crop years have been below average.  As a result, growers are eager to find ways to reduce costs while maintaining adequate levels of weed control.  Several weed management options were presented to reach this goal during the 2005 growing season.


January 18, 2005:Dr. Ed Richard, Research Agronomist and SRU Research Leader, was invited to discuss  winter and spring management practices that can improve sugarcane yields at a meeting of the Bayoulands Young Farmer Association (BYFA) in Napoleonville and at the January 19th combined St. Martin, Lafayette, and St. Landry Parish winter grower meeting at Breaux Bridge, LA.   Discussions at the BYFA meeting centered on the management of post-harvest residue blankets and winter-killed cane while discussions centered on winter, spring and summer weed control options at the Louisiana AgCenter's Cooperative Extension Service-sponsored grower meeting.  The meetings were attended by over 50 growers.  These meetings are especially important as sugarcane yields for the last three crop years have been below average.


January 30 - February 5, 2005: Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) Scientists:  Dr. Ed Richard, Research Agronomist and SRU Research Leader; Dr. Richard Johnson, Research Agronomist; and Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, attended the XXV Congress of the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (ISSCT) January 30th to February 4th in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  Dr. Johnson presented an invitational paper titled:  "Utilization of Yield Mapping and Variable Rate Lime Application in Louisiana Sugarcane" and Dr. Viator presented an invitational paper titled:  "Challenges of Post-Harvest Residue Management in the Louisiana Sugarcane Industry".  Dr. Richard served as ISSCT's Agriculture Commissioner and was responsible for the Agriculture Program during the 5-day meeting.  The Congress, held every three years, had nearly 1000 delegates representing 55 countries in attendance.


February 4, 2005:  Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) scientists:  Dr. William White, Research Entomologist; Dr. Thomas Tew, Research Geneticist; and Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, were selected to serve on the Entomology, Breeding, and Agronomy Committees of the ISSCT, respectively, with Dr. White being elected to serve as the Entomology Committee's chairman.  As members of the respective committees, the SRU scientists will be responsible for assisting the commissioners in developing programs for the ISSCT-sponsored workshops and congresses.


February 11, 2005:Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) Scientists Dr. Mike Grisham (Research Plant Pathologist), Bill White (Research Entomologist), Dr. Tom Tew (Research Geneticist), and Dr. Ryan Viator (Research Plant Physiologist) were invited to make presentations during the Agricultural Section of the Division's annual meeting at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on February 11th.  Dr. Grisham provided an update on a relatively new sugarcane disease in Louisiana, Sugarcane Yellow Leaf Disease.  Dr. White provided an update on research efforts to develop sugarcane varieties that are resistant to stalk boring insects and in particular the Mexican Rice Borer.  Dr. Tew presented an update on the growth and yield potential of Ho 95-988, a newly released sugarcane variety that originated from the SRU's varietal development program.  Finally, Dr. Viator discussed the results of experiments he has been conducting on the impact of post-harvest residues generated during the harvesting of green cane on subsequent ratoon crops.  While at the meeting, Dr. Mike Grisham was elected to serve a second term as the Division's Agriculture Chairman.


February 16-18, 2005:Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) Scientists: Dr. Ed Richard (Research Leader/Research Agronomist), Dr. Bill White (Research Entomologist), Dr. Richard Johnson (Research Agronomist), and Dr. Ryan Viator (Research Plant Physiologist) were invited to make presentations during the Louisiana Agricultural & Management Conference.  The annual conference, sponsored by the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association, was held February 16th - 18th in Alexandria.  Dr. Richard provided an update on the use of artificial ripeners to facilitate the early harvesting of sugarcane.  Dr. White provided an update on research efforts in several areas:  the relationship between dextran accumulation and stalk damage caused by the sugarcane borer (SCB), varietal differences in susceptibility to the SCB, and the identification of a predatory insect that may provide some biocontrol of the SCB.  Dr. Johnson presented an update on his research evaluating the effects of winter-killed sugarcane vegetation on the growth of the subsequent crop and the application of precision agriculture technologies to sugarcane production.  Finally, Dr. Viator discussed results of experiments on the impact of post-harvest residues generated during the harvesting of green cane on subsequent ratoon crops. 


March 15th, 2005:Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader of the Sugarcane Research Unit was asked to give a perspective on USDA-ARS cooperation regarding sugarcane agronomic programs as part of a USDA, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) review of the LSU Ag Center's Agronomy Department.  The reviews by a panel of peers from across the U.S. are held every 5 to 7 years and are designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Ag Center's agronomic program.


March 21, 2005: Dr. William White, Research Entomologist, with the Sugarcane Research Unit was the invited speaker at the March meeting of the Bayouland Young Farmers' Association at Napoleonville, Louisiana.  Dr. White was asked to discuss the susceptibility of newly released and soon to be released sugarcane varieties to the sugarcane borer as well as to discuss his research to date that identified a new predator beetle that may offer some help in the control of the sugarcane borer.


March 23, 2005:Dr. Richard Johnson, Research Agronomist, with the Sugarcane Research Unit took part in a workshop on soil testing and fertilization recommendations sponsored by the LSU Agricultural Center's Soil Testing Laboratory at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The purpose of the workshop was to try to identify ways that the soil testing laboratory could be more responsive to the needs of Louisiana's agricultural community.  Topics ranged from: the classes and chemistries of different soils in Louisiana to the methodologies of soil extraction to the generation of fertilizer recommendations, to the National Resource Conservation Service's policies on nutrient management.


April 25, 2005: Members of the Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU): Ryan Viator, Tom Tew, Robert Cobill, and Ed Richard were asked to participate in a discussion with LSU AgCenter and American Sugarcane League researchers and representatives of John Deere's CAMECO Industries, a major manufacturer of sugarcane harvesting equipment, to explore ways that the various entities can work together to develop "grower-friendly" best management practices (BMP's) that will insure that cane of the highest quality is being harvested and delivered to the raw sugar factories for processing.  These BMP's would be presented to the growers via the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.


April 26, 2005:Each year the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service sponsors a sugarcane field day at the Sugarcane Research Unit's (SRU) Ardoyne Research Farm.  The purpose of the meeting on April 26th with grower and raw sugar factory representatives, extension service personnel, and the researchers at the SRU was to discuss the issues being faced by the industry and research being conducted by SRU scientists to address these issues.  The field day was tentatively set for June 3rd at the SRU's Research Farm.  Of primary focus during the tour of the farm will be research on: weed control; breeding for sugar and resistance to insects, diseases, and other environmental stresses; and the utilization of various cultural practices to optimize cane and sugar yields. 


April 29, 2005: Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) scientists Dr. Michael Grisham (Research Plant Pathologist) and Dr. Ed Richard (Research Leader) participated with members of the LSU AgCenter, the American Sugar Cane League, and commercial suppliers of seed-cane in a meeting to discuss the impact of a newly found disease, Sugarcane Yellow Leaf Syndrome, in Louisiana.  The disease is capable of causing significant yield loss in the older ratoon crops and its spread can only be slowed by the industry's vigilance in insuring that only seed-cane free of this disease is planted.  The focus of the meeting was to discuss how seed-cane suppliers can insure that disease-free foundation stock can be obtained and used in their tissue culture processes.


April 23, 2005: Several members of the Sugarcane Research Unit made presentations at the semi-annual extension/research planning meeting sponsored by the LSU Ag Center's Cooperative Extension Service at the LSU Sugar Experiment Station at St. Gabriel, LA.  The purpose of the meeting was to bring county agents with sugarcane responsibilities up to date on the research being conducted by ARS and LSU scientists as well as to assist them in developing demonstrations on this research for their respective field day demonstrations.


April 24-25, 2005:University and ARS researchers and administrators from Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas that are actively involved in either sugarcane varietal development or the development of DNA-based molecular markers for sugarcane were invited to a meeting with stakeholder representatives from the various sugarcane industries at the Sugarcane Research Laboratory in Houma, LA.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ongoing research as well as to identify areas of cooperative research that could be pursued with the objective of improving the efficiencies of sugarcane breeding programs by the adoption of these developing molecular technologies.  Using a rice model, the 23 participants identified traits of common interest to the four states and populations that could be planted in all states and used to develop markers specific to these traits.  In addition to sharing information electronically, the group hopes to meet annually to discuss progress and identify future courses of action to include grant submissions to help fund some of this research.


June 1, 2005:Dr. Michael Grisham (Research Plant Pathologist), participated in a discussion with members of the LSU Agriculture Center, the American Sugarcane League, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and with representatives of the commercial seed cane companies concerning changes to the standards for certification of sugarcane seed cane.  Modifications to the standards are needed to establish approved procedures that can be used to free foundation plants of systemic virus diseases such as the newly found disease, Sugarcane Yellow Leaf Disease.  Foundation plants maintained by the commercial seed cane suppliers are the source of tissue they use to increase sugarcane varieties by tissue culture.  Standards for greenhouses used to house foundation plants were also discussed.     


June 2, 2005:Dr. Ryan Viator (Research Plant Physiologist) and Dr. Rich Johnson (Research Agronomist) met with committee members of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) June 1st at Thibodaux, LA.  The estuary is responsible for about 40% of the U.S. fisheries industry and borders much of the Louisiana sugarcane industry. The scientists provided the committee with an update of research they are conducting on identifying ways to manage post-harvest residues generated during the harvesting of green cane as the sugarcane industry moves away from the utilization of burning to improve harvesting efficiencies.  Identifying ways to utilize the residue to reduce the crop's impact on the estuary while also reducing the negative impact of the residue on the subsequent ratoon crops are the main focuses of the research that is partially funded by BTNEP.  The committee was particularly excited with the potentiality of harvesting the residue and utilizing it in coastal stabilization and restoration projects.


June 3, 2005: On June 3rd the  SRU staff participated in and hosted the annual LSU Extension Service's Area and Terrebonne Parish Sugarcane Field day at the SRU's Ardoyne Research Farm at Schriever, LA.  After a welcoming by Dr. John Patrick Jordan, Director of the Southern Regional Research Center, the 139 registered participants were given a tour of the research farm that included stops where presentations on sugarcane variety development to include insect resistance and a new focus of energy cane development (Dr. Tom Tew, Mr. Ed Dufrene, Dr. Bill White, and Mr. Robert Cobill); bermudagrass weed management options (Dr. Caleb Dalley and Mr. Eric Petrie); and various cultural practices including planting, residue management, and variable rate nutrient application (Drs. Rich Johnson and Ryan Viator) were made.


June 14-16, 2005:Mr. Robert Cobill an Agronomist with the Sugarcane Research Unit participated in a 3-day training course June 14th to 16th sponsored by the LSU Ag Center's Audubon Sugar Institute at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The three day session focused on the experiences the Brazilian industry has had with production of ethanol in their sugar mills.  Mr. Cobill attended sessions dealing with:  sugar manufacturing experiences in Brazil, parallel sugar-ethanol production, and advancements in sugar fermentation and alcoholic distillation techniques.  The survival of the domestic sugar industry will be somewhat dependent on the incorporation of an ethanol component, and as a result, many of the participants were from Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and California.


June 20, 2005: Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader, and Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, of the Sugarcane Research Unit were asked to represent ARS on a 14-member committee of growers, raw sugar possessors, researchers, and equipment manufacturers charged with developing Best Management Practices for the mechanical harvesting of green cane.  The committee held its first meeting on June 20th at the John Deere CAMECO Plant in Thibodaux, LA.  Topics included:  (1) the need for BMP's, (2) what information is currently available and what additional information is needed, and (3) as a committee where do we go from here based on a prioritization of research needs to fill gaps.


June 23-24, 2005: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists: Tom Tew, Research Geneticist; Sarah Lingle, Research Plant Physiologist; Rich Johnson, Research Agronomist; Yong-Bao Pan, Research Molecular Geneticist; Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist; John Veremis, Research Geneticist; and Agronomists, Edwis Dufrene, Caleb Dalley, and Robert Cobill made presentations at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Joint Louisiana and Florida Divisions of the ASSCT in Panama City, FL on June 23rd and 24th.  Dr. Viator received the Best Poster award and Mr. Dufrene's presentation was judged as one of the Best Agricultural Papers.  Dr. Mike Grisham, Research Plant Pathologist and Chairman of the Louisiana Division's Agricultural Section, also attended and moderated an agricultural session. 


June 23, 2005: Dr. Tom Tew, Research Geneticist at the Sugarcane Research Unit and Chairman of the Sugarcane Crop Germplasm Committee, presided over the annual meeting of the committee.  The committee meeting took place on June 23rd and was held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Joint Louisiana and Florida Divisions of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists in Panama City, FL.   The committee consists of appointed university, industry, and ARS representatives from:  Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Texas, and now California.  The major focus of the meeting was the status of the APHIS Quarantine Facility at Beltsville, MD, and its ability to handle additional requests to bring in foreign sugarcane germplasm.


June 29, 2005: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists: William White, Research Entomologist, and Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, made presentations at the ASCL's annual Contact Committee meeting held at Thibodaux, LA.  The meeting, with over 200 participants representing: growers, processors, researchers, and dealer and banking groups, had as its theme "Insuring the Efficiency and Longevity of the Louisiana Sugar Cane Industry".   During a session on varietal development, Dr. White made a presentation titled:  "The Selection of Secondary Traits in Louisiana Sugarcane Varieties:  Progress in Selecting for Borer Resistance".  Dr. Viator's presentation titled:  "Maximizing Profits in Louisiana Sugar Production" dealt with improving the extraction efficacies of sugarcane harvesters.  The latter was made during a session designed to show producers how they can increase profits by reducing the amount of leaf trash delivered to raw sugar processors during the harvesting of green cane.


July 27-28, 2005:  Dr. Ryan Viator was asked to provide an update on his sugarcane planting and ripener research to about 50 sugarcane growers from St. Mary Parish on July 27th.  In his presentation, Dr. Viator discussed results from his research with newly released sugarcane varieties, stressing to growers the importance of planting these varieties at the correct time and the negative impact that a late planting date can have on sugarcane yield.  He also talked to the growers about the long-term effects of ripeners on cane re-growth and yield.  Dr. Viator provided a similar update to a group of about 75 growers from Iberia Parish on July, 28th.


August 9, 2005:Dr. Ryan Viator was invited to speak at the Cajun Sugar Cooperative mills in New Iberia and Bunkie, Louisiana at mill sponsored pre-harvest growers meetings.   The presentations were attended by about 125 growers and processors from throughout the western and northern Louisiana sugarcane production areas.  Dr. Viator's presentation dealt with both the short- and long-term effects that ripeners can have on sugarcane re-growth and yield of the subsequent ratoon crops.