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Meetings and Talks 2006
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February 7-8, 2006: Drs. Richard Johnson, Ryan Viator, and Tom Tew were invited to make presentations during the annual meeting of the Louisiana Division of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists which was held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Presentations included:  "Cultural Practices Update" (Dr. Viator), "Precision Agriculture:  An Update on New and On-Going Research" (Dr. Johnson), and "New Varieties:  Where Do They Fit In?" (Dr. Tew).  Dr. Mike Grisham of the Sugarcane Research Unit served as the Division's Agricultural Chairman with the responsibility of putting the Agricultural Program together and moderating the two-day sessions.

February 16-17, 2006: Drs. Mike Grisham, Richard Johnson, Ryan Viator, Caleb Dalley, William White, and Ed Richard, Jr. of the Sugarcane Research Unit, were invited to make presentations on various aspects of their research during the Sugarcane Breakout Sessions of the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association-sponsored Louisiana Agricultural Technology and Management Conference (LATMC) that was held in Alexandria, Louisiana.   Presentation topics included:  Herbicide Tolerance and Weed Control Research" (Dr. Dalley), "Sugarcane Cultural Practices Research" (Dr. Viator), "Looking at Disease Status of New Commercial Varieties" (Dr. Grisham), "Summary of 2003 - 2005 Sugarcane Borer Yield Reduction Studies" (Dr. White), "Ripener Research" (Dr. Richard), and "Soil Fertility and Rust/Variable Rate Lime/Phosphorus Fertilizer Research" (Dr. Johnson).

May 15-20, 2006:Sugarcane Research Unit scientist, Dr. William White, attended the 6th International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists' Entomology Workshop in Cairns, Australia.  Dr. White presented a paper titled:  "Cross resistance in sugarcane to the Mexican rice borer and the sugarcane borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae)".  As chair of ISSCT's Biology Commission's Sugarcane Entomology Committee he was responsible for developing the program and moderating many of the sessions.  In addition to active interchanges on various topics during formal sessions, participants attending the workshop were given tours of the Australian sugarcane industry. Dr. White also participated in a post workshop tour in Papua New Guinea (PNG), May 21-24. The tour to PNG provided by Ramu Sugar Limited was a unique opportunity to visit the geographical origin of sugarcane. Pests and diseases of sugarcane are common in PNG and on-going high disease pressure is a direct result of the widespread occurrence of Saccharum. Ramu Sugar is the only commercial sugarcane operation in PNG and as such must deal with a number of serious disease and insect problems unique to their industry.

May 21-26, 2006:Sugarcane Research Unit scientist, Dr. Ryan Viator, attended the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists' Agronomy Workshop and the International Sugarcane Modeling Consortium's meeting in Khon Kaen, Thailand.  Dr. Viator presented a paper entitled:  "Sugarcane Post-Harvest Residue Management in a Temperate Climate".  Dr. Viator serves as a member of ISSCT's Agricultural Commission's Agronomy Committee and as such assisted with program development and session moderation.   In addition to active interchanges with international scientists, participants attending the workshop were also given extensive tours of the sugarcane industry in Thailand.

June 2, 2006: About 90 participants representing local sugarcane growers; state, industry and federal researchers and extension specialists; local civic organizations; the news media; and the general public attended the Terrebonne Parish and Area Sugarcane Field Day that was held at the Sugarcane Research Laboratory's Houma worksite.  Outdoor stops strategically placed around the laboratory's grounds discussed research being conducted in the areas of:  entomology (Dr. Bill White), pathology (Dr. Mike Grisham), weed control (Dr. Caleb Dalley), cultural practices (Dr. Rich Johnson and Ryan Viator), and varietal development for both the production of sugar and energy (Dr. Tom Tew, Dr. Sarah Lingle, Dr. Yong-Bao Pan, Mr. Ed Dufrene, and Mr. Robert Cobill).  The annual field day alternates between the Laboratory's Ardoyne Farm and Houma worksites with the field day at the Houma worksite being held every four years.   This years field day at the Houma worksite provide SRU researchers with an opportunity to display and discuss the more basic aspects of their independent and cooperative research, which can not typically be shown during conventional field days.

June 13 -19, 2006: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists, Dr. Tom Tew, Dr. Mike Grisham, and Dr. Ed Richard attended the Sugarcane Crop Germplasm Committee meeting in Coral Gables, Florida where issues relating to the testing for new sugarcane diseases and the preservation and importation of germplasm from sugarcane breeding facilities throughout the world to the APHIS Quarantine Facility at Beltsville, Maryland was discussed.  Dr. Tew serves as the Committee's chairman.  While in Florida the trio also attended and presented papers at the Joint Meeting of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologist's Florida and Louisiana Divisions which was held June 18th and 19th at St. Petersburg, Florida.  The presentations included:  "Effect of Ratoon Stunting Disease on Yield of Sugarcane Cultivars Recently Released in Louisiana", "Ripener Influences on Sugarcane Yield in Louisiana", and "Evaluation of Sweet Sorghum as a Complementary Bioenergy Crop to Sugarcane in Louisiana".   The meeting was attended by ARS and university scientists, consultants, industry researchers, and growers and processors representing Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.


June 28, 2006: Dr. Mike Grisham, Dr. Rich Johnson, and Dr. Ed Richard were invited to make presentations on their research at the annual meeting of the American Sugar Cane League of the U.S.A. that was held in Thibodaux, Louisiana.  Topics discussed included:  "Rust and Possible Links to Fertility", "Utilization of Remote Sensing Technologies for the Early Detection of Diseases and Sucrose Estimation Prior to Harvest" and "Field Production of Potential Feedstocks for a Biofuels Industry in Louisiana".  The meeting was attended by over 200 growers, mill processors, researchers, suppliers, and others interested in the Louisiana sugarcane industry. 


June 28, 2006: Twenty participants in Nicholls State University's International Raw Sugar Institute visited the Sugarcane Research Laboratory at Houma.  The participants were from Barbados, Jamaica, Uganda, Argentina, Guatemala, Columbia, Venezuela, and the United States.  While at the laboratory, Drs. Tom Tew and Ed Richard discussed the varietal development program and what traits were being selected for to insure the delivery of good quality cane to raw sugar factories.  The group also visited the Laboratory's Ardoyne Research Farm where Mrs. Michelle Portier discussed the features of the automated juice quality lab and Dr. Rich Johnson discussed his research using leaf reflectance to predict sucrose levels in standing cane prior to harvest.


July 8, 2006: Dr. Ed Richard was invited to make a presentation titled "Field Production of Potential Feedstocks for a Biofuels Industry in Louisiana" during the Sugar Cane Commodity Session of the annual meeting of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation that was held in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Finding additional saleable products such as ethanol that can be produced from the sugar cane plant is of paramount importance to the Louisiana sugar cane industry.  The session was attended by approximately 250 growers, mill processors, researchers, suppliers, and others interested in the Louisiana sugar cane industry. 


July 14, 2006: Dr. Ed Richard was invited to take part in a panel discussion on potential energy crops during the Friday Feedstocks for Bioprocessing and Biomaterials Session of the Third Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing that was held in Toronto, Canada.  The goal of the multinational conference organizers is to link biotechnology, chemistry, and agriculture to create new value chains.  Dr. Richard presented information on the Sugarcane Research Unit's efforts to integrate the production of sugar cane, energy cane, Miscanthus, and sweet sorghum to insure a year-round supply of feedstocks to biomass-to-ethanol bio-refineries.  The session was attended by approximately 175 participants.  The participants were impressed with the potential biomass yields from the various crops as well as the Louisiana sugar cane industry's system for the delivery of biomass to raw sugar processing facilities.


July 18 - 20, 2006:  Drs. Ryan Viator, William White, and Ed Richard were invited to make presentations at Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service-Sponsored field days in Vermillion and Lafourche Parishes.  Dr. Viator discussed recommended planting and residue management practices based on his research at the Vermillion Parish event on July 18th in Abbeyville, Louisiana.  At the Lafourche Parish field day held on July 20th in Raceland, Louisiana, Dr. Richard discussed the potential of integrating energy cane with sugar production and Dr. White gave a sugarcane borer update.  The annual field days are designed to present the growers and other interested industry personnel with the latest updates on techniques to insure optimum yields as well as to keep the industry informed regarding new areas of research. 


Award.  Dr. William White received the Lafourche Parish Field Day Award for "Outstanding Service to the Louisiana Sugarcane Industry" at the 57th Annual Lafourche Parish Sugarcane Field Day held in Raceland, Louisiana.  Dr. White was cited for the research he is conducting on methodologies to manage the sugarcane borer.  Much of this research has been presented at annual Lafourche Parish Spring Grower Meetings and Summer Field Days.  The award is particularly prestigious as the recipient is nominated and voted on by the grower and miller stakeholders of Lafourche Parish.


July 23-26, 2006: Dr. Rich Johnson (Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA) attended the 8th International Conference on Precision Agriculture which was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from July 23rd to July 26th.  The conference was attended by over 300 precision agriculture researchers from over 30 countries.  During the meeting Dr. Johnson presented a paper entitled "Utilization of Leaf Reflectance Measurements in Louisiana Sugarcane Disease, Variety and Harvest Management Systems." 


July 29-August 2, 2006: Dr. Michael P. Grisham (Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA) presented a poster entitled "Effect of soil properties on sugarcane brown rust incidence and severity and associated yield loss" coauthored by Drs. Rich Johnson and Ed Richard, Jr. at the 2006 Joint Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society, the Canadian Phytopathological Society, and the Mycological Society of America in Quebec City, Canada.  Dr. Grisham also participated in the Tropical Plant Pathology Committee activities and will serve as the chair of the committee for 2006-2007.


September 7, 2006: Dr. Ed Richard (Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA) was invited to discuss at-planting weed control recommendations and the use of ripeners to accelerate sugarcane's natural maturation at the Lafourche Raw Sugar Factory's pre-harvest grower meeting held in Labadieville, LA.  The meeting was attended by over 150 growers and was designed to assist the growers in completing the planting of next year's crop as well as the preparations necessary for the upcoming harvest season that is scheduled to begin on October 10th. 


September 14, 2006: Dr. Ed Richard (Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA) was invited to present a paper titled:  "Sugar Cane as a Potential Energy Crop"at an alternative energy workshop held in Alexandria, LA and sponsored by a number of organizations to include the: Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, USDA National Resources and Conservation Service, USDA Rural Development Service, and USDA Farm Services Agency.  The workshop was designed to bring together a diverse group of feedstock producers, biofuels processors, investors, and public and private researchers to develop plans that will ultimately result in grant submissions from various parts of Louisiana for funds that are available through the U.S. Department of Energy as well as through Section 9006 of the current Farm Bill.  Dr. Richard's talk centered around the research being conducted by ARS on the integration of feedstocks such as sugar cane, energy cane, Miscanthus, and sweet sorghum to produce a year-round supply of feedstock to a biorefinery that takes advantage of Louisiana's mild climate.