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Meetings and Talks 2009
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January 22 - 23, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit Research Leader, Dr. Ed Richard, participated in the 25 X '25 National Steering Committee's meeting in New Orleans, LA. The meeting was sponsored by the Louisiana25 X '25 State Alliance. The committee discussed the opportunities, challenges, and impacts associated with the use of forest and agricultural biomass and other clean technologies in the production of energy for electricity, transportation fuels, and other renewable energy applications. Dr. Richard assisted the members of the State Alliancein planning the meeting and also hosted about 40 members of the committee at the Unit's Houmalocation on January 23rd. During the visit, Dr. Richard discussed the research being conducted at the SRU with special emphasis on the unit's efforts in developing energy cane varieties and the use of complimentary sugar and cellulosic crops to insure "year-round" deliveries to biorefineries.

January 20 - February 6, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists: Drs. Ryan Viator, Rich Johnson, and Caleb Dalley were asked to discuss their research and sugarcane recommendations developed from that research at various grower meetings in Lafourche, Iberia, Iberville, St. Mary, West Baton Rouge, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, and Vermillion Parishes, sponsored by the LSU Ag Center's Cooperative Extension Service. Topics for the presentations included from: "Spring Weed Control" (Dalley), "Plant Cane and Old Ratoon Management" and Residue Management and Plant-Cane Cultural Practices" (Viator) and "Sugarcane Fertilizer Recommendations for 2009" (Johnson).

February 4, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists: Drs. Ed Richard, Richard Johnson, and Ryan Viator were invited to make presentations at the Annual Meeting of the LouisianaDivision of the American Society of Sugarcane Technologists. Dr. Richard was asked to give an update on USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research to not only include research at the SRU but research that supports the Louisiana sugar industry in Florida, Beltsville, and also at the Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans and the Soil and Water Research Unit in Baton Rouge. Drs. Viator and Johnson were asked to discuss research in areas that impacted the sugar industry in 2008 and are expected to be of concern in 2009. Presentation titles were: "Plant Cane Concerns for the 2009 Crop Year" (Viator) and "Sugarcane Fertility Management: New Tools and Information to Help You Make Better Decisions". The meeting was attended by many of the growers and processors in

February 8 - 13, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientist, Dr. Caleb Dalley, participated in the joint meeting of the Weed Science Society of America and the Southern Weed Science Society in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Dalley was invited to make a presentation titled "Herbicides as Ripeners for Sugarcane" during a symposium on "Alternative Uses of Herbicides".

February 12-13, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists: Drs. William White, Mike Grisham, Ed Richard, Richard Johnson, and Ryan Viator were invited to make presentations at the Louisiana Agricultural Technology and Management Conference in Alexandria, LA. The annual meeting is sponsored by the LouisianaAgricultural Consultants Association and is used as training to maintain their certification. Topics discussed by the SRU scientists included: "Maximizing Profits by Reducing Crop Stress" (Viator), "Natural Predators of the Sugarcane Borer and Aphid Thresholds" (White), "Next Generation of Precision Technology" (Johnson), "On Farm Disease Management" (Grisham), and "Sugarcane Weed Control" and "Ripener Efficacy on New Varieties and Alternative Ripeners" (Richard). Dr. Ryan Viator is also a member of the Advisory Committee.

March 9 - 10, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientist Dr. Ed Richard, Jr. participated in the USDA/DOE-sponsored SunGrant Regional Feedstock Partnership Planning and Management Meeting in Washington, D.C.Dr. Richard was appointed by the NPS to serve as the USDA-ARS Coordinator for Energy Cane. Seven university cooperators representing the states of: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texasare evaluating energy cane varieties being developed by the SRU's sugarcane breeders as part of the Sun Grant biomass initiative. As the meeting title indicates, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the status of the projects to include the development of replicated trials to assess the yield potential of the various regional feedstocks. Dr. Richard was also asked to give an overview of the SRU's research in the development of "next generation" energy cane varieties.

April 20 - 24, 2009: Sugarcane Research Scientist, Dr. William White, attended the 7th International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists-sponsored Entomology Workshop held in San Miguel de Tucum?n, Argentina. The theme of the workshop was "Impact of Globalization on Sugar Pests, Biodiversity and the Environment." The workshop was attended by 40 delegates representing the countries of: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Mauritius, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, and the U.S.A. Technical papers were assigned to five sessions: biological control, pest management, insect-plant interactions, losses, and biological studies of sugarcane pests. In addition to the technical sessions, one day was set aside to visit local sugarcane fields and to observe insect pest in the field. Dr. White presented the paper "Leptotrachelus dorsalis (F.) (Coleoptera: Carabidae): The prodigal son returns". As chairperson of the Entomology Committee of ISSCT, Dr. White helped organize the workshop and moderated the section on biological studies of sugarcane pests.

April 27, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientist Dr. Ed Richard, Jr. was invited to the Universityof Illinois' Urbana-Champaign Campus to give a Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences-sponsored seminar. The topic of Dr. Richard's seminar was: "Sugar/Energy Canes as Feedstocks for the Biofuels Industry". The seminar was attended by over 125 students and staff. In addition to the seminar, Dr. Richard met with members of the staff and students to discuss areas of future research collaboration on cellulosic feedstocks to include the development of Miscanthus by the U of I and Miscanthus x sugarcane hybrids by the SRU.

May 13, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists participated in the LSU Ag Center's Cooperative Extension Service-sponsored Extension/Research Training Meeting. The meeting brings together the County Agents in the sugarcane producing parishes, industry representatives, and the SRU and LSU Ag Center scientists to discuss crop-related problems and production recommendations for the remainder of the growing season. Of concern is the increasing incidence of brown rust and its apparent ability to infest previously resistant varieties; the potential impact from two new pests, orange rust and the Mexican rice borer; the role of resistant varieties in minimizing disease and insect losses; the threat of herbicide drift from sugarcane fields to soybeans planted as an additional cash crop in summer-fallowed sugarcane fields; and the impact of flooding and the late planting of sugarcane due to Hurricane's Gustav and Ike in 2008 on the yields of plant-cane in 2009. Research results pertaining to these topics were presented by SRU scientists: Mike Grisham (diseases), Bill White (borers), Tom Tew, Anna Hale, Ed Dufrene (varieties), Caleb Dalley (weed control), and Ryan Viator (flooding and late planting).

May 18, 2009: Dr. Ed Richard, Sugarcane Research Unit, was asked to discuss sugarcane weed control recommendations at the monthly meeting of the Bayouland Young Farmer's Association. Topics for the monthly meetings are suggested by the members and generally represent problems encountered in the industry. Weak stands of newly planted sugarcane following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008 and suggestions as to how to handle the intense weed pressures associated with these poor stands were the principal focus of Dr. Richard's presentation. There were approximately 30 members in attendance.

May 19 - May 29, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists, Drs. Richard Johnson and Ryan Viator, participated in the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologist-sponsored Agronomy Workshop in Uberlandia, Brazil. Dr. Johnson was invited to present a paper titled: "Determination of yield and soil variability in Louisianasugarcane using the tools of precision agriculture" and Dr. Viator was invited to present a paper titled: "Sugarcane post harvest residue management in Louisiana". The workshop is held every three years and affords sugarcane scientists from around the world to meet and discuss their research in sugarcane agronomy and the associated sciences. While in Brazil, they were also invited to visit the Universityof Sao Pauloin Piracicabato review sugarcane research being conducted there.

May 27 - May 29, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit Plant Pathologist, Dr. Mike Grisham, was asked to participate in a University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences-sponsored workshop titled: "Living With and Managing Sugarcane Orange Rust" at Belle Glade, Florida. Sugarcane rust was first observed in Floridain 2007 and has had a major impact on the Floridasugarcane industry in 2008. The purpose of the meeting of Brazilian and USsugarcane scientists is to explore the possibility of conducting cooperative and collaborative research emphasizing sugarcane orange rust and other areas of mutual interests to improve sugarcane production. Orange Rust has not been found in Louisiana; hence, the presence of Louisianaparental clones at Canal Point gives SRU's breeders some indication of the susceptibility of the Louisianavarieties to orange rust.

June 5, 2009: The staff of the Sugarcane Research Unit hosted a Sugarcane Field Day at the Unit's Ardoyne Research Farm. Field demonstrations were designed to educate the 100 + grower, consultant, chemical manufacturing, and general public participants in a number of different areas dealing with sugarcane production in Louisiana. Topics and presenters included: (1) Standard and Variable Rate Nitrogen Application Simplified (Dr. Rich Johnson and local grower), (2) Varietal Response to Planting and Harvest Dates (Dr. Viator), (3) Keys to Identifying Sugarcane Varieties (Messrs. Ed Dufrene and Mike Duet), (4) Controlling Bermudagrass in Fallowed Sugarcane Fields (Dr. Caleb Dalley), (5) Growing Complimentary Sugar Crops (Drs. Tom Tew and Ed Richard), (6) Orange Rust and Mexican Riche Borers as Potentially New Threats to the sugar industry, and (7) Developing Cold Tolerant Varieties for the Louisiana Sugar Industry (Dr. Anna Hale).

June 17, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit Scientists, Drs. Mike Grisham, Anna Hale, Tom Tew, and Ed Richard, participated in a Sugarcane Genomics Meeting held in conjunction with the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, annual meeting in Biloxi, MS. The meeting was organized by the ARS National Program Leader for Sugar Crops, Dr. Gale Wisler, in an attempt to coordinate research efforts in genomics currently being conducted by ARS sugarcane researchers at Houma, LA and Canal Point, FL and ARS's university and stakeholder partners in both Louisiana and Florida. The ultimate goal would be to adopt genomics technologies to improve the efficiency of the US's sugarcane breeding programs in Louisiana, Florida, and Texas.

June 18-19, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit Scientists, Drs. Ed Richard, Mike Grisham, and Yong-Bao Pan participated in and made presentations at the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologist's annual meeting in Biloxi, MS. Presentations made by SRU scientists included: "Effects of Glyphosate Ripener Timing and Rate on Cane and Sugar Yields" (Dr. Richard), "Potential Effect of Sugarcane Yellow Leaf Virus Infection on the Yield of Leading Sugarcane Cultivars in Louisiana" (Dr. Grisham), and "Databasing Molecular Identities of Louisiana, Florida, and Texas Sugarcane Clones" (Dr. Pan).

June 24, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists, Drs. Bill White and Rich Johnson, were invited to make presentations at the Annual Contact Committee meeting of the American Sugar Cane League of the U.S.A. in Thibodaux, LA. The purpose of the meeting, attended by over 200 growers, processors, suppliers, and researchers, was to discuss some of the problems facing the Louisiana sugarcane industry and the research being conducted and funded in part by the industry to address these problems. Presentations made by SRU scientists dealt with: research suggesting that fertilizer rates could be reduced - "Maximizing Profits and Yields While Reducing Fertilizer Costs" (Dr. Johnson) and the threat to the Louisianasugarcane industry from a second stalk borer, the Mexican Rice Borer - "A Tale of Two Borers" (Dr. White).

July 15, 16, and 28, 2009: Members of the Sugarcane Research Unit's scientific staff made presentations at the LSU Ag Center's Sugarcane Field Day at St. Gabriel, LA on July 15th (Tom Tew), the Lafourche Parish Sugarcane Field Day at Raceland, LA on July 16th, (Ed Dufrene, Mike Duet, Rich Johnson), and the Assumption Parish Sugarcane Field Day at Napoleonville, LA on July 28th (Ed Dufrene, Rich Johnson, Tom Tew, Ryan Viator). For his presentations, Dr. Tew discussed the SRU's efforts in developing new energy cane varieties and the evaluation of "sugar containing" crops such as sweet sorghum, tropical maize, and sugarbeets that could be grown with energy cane to extend the processing season for biorefineries. Mr. Dufrene and Mr. Duet discussed the pros and cons of the various varieties recommended for planting in Louisianaas well as ways to differentiate between the varieties. Dr. Ryan Viator discussed date of planting, planting cane following soybeans and succession planting. Finally, Dr. Rich Johnson discussed fertilizer recommendations to include the use of both macro- and micro-elements.

August 17-21, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists, Drs. Tom Tew and Anna Hale participated in the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologist-sponsored Sugarcane Breeding and Germplasm Workshop in Queensland, Australia. The theme for the workshop was "Sugarcane Crop Improvement - Opportunities and Challenges". Dr. Tew presented a paper titled: "Energy Cane Breeding in Louisiana- A Progress Report" and Dr. Hale presented a paper titled: "Fifty Years of Sugarcane Germplasm Enhancement - Roadblocks, Hurdles, and Successes". These discipline-specific workshops, held every three years, allow breeders to discuss their research among their international peers and perhaps identify areas for cooperative studies.

July 14-9, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit Scientist, Dr. Yong-Bao Pan was invited by China's National Research and Development Center for Sugarcane Industry Technology to participate and conduct a session in a training class on ratoon stunting disease.  While in China, Dr. Pan also presented a seminar at the Guangzhou Sugarcane Industrial Research Institute and visited the sugarcane crossing efforts at the Hainan Sugarcane Breeding Station in an effort to identify areas for future collaborative research.


October 1-2, 2009:Sugarcane Research Unit Scientists, Drs. Caleb Dalley, Ryan Viator, Rich Johnson, and Michael Grisham attended the Louisiana Crop Consultant Association's annual fall retreat in Marksville, LA.  The purpose to of the retreat is to discuss problems encountered in the various commodity crops in the state and to discuss possible topics for the Association's annual winter meeting.


November 2-6, 2009:Sugarcane Research Unit Scientists, Drs. Yong-Bao Pan and Paul White attended the 2009 ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.  The convention's central theme was sustainability through plant and soil sciences, and soil and water quality as related to bioenergy crop production were hot topics. Dr. Pan presented some of his research titled:  "A Genetic Linkage Map of Louisiana Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) Using AFLP and SSR Markers" during a poster session.  Dr. Paul White is a new hire to the SRU who is developing his research program.  While attending the various sessions, he met with members of the USDA-ARS Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP), which focuses on crop residue removal impacts on soil health in the hopes of joining the group using his focus on post-harvest residues generated during the harvest of sugar and energy cane.


November 15-25, 2009: Dr. William White, Research Entomologist, ARS Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA and Dr. Jack C. Comstock, Research Leader, ARS Sugarcane Field Station, Canal Point, FL have been invited by Embrapa (Brazil's federal agricultural research organization) to:  visit, give presentations and discuss cooperative research opportunities at several Embrapa research facilities and Universities in Brazil.  Dr. White will be presenting research on the development of sugarcane borer resistant cultivars through breeding and selection and Dr. Comstock will be presenting research on sugarcane orange rust and sugarcane biomass development.   The research presented addressed the REE priorities "International Food Security and Bioenergy."


November 16-17, 2009: Sugarcane Research Unit Scientist, Dr. Ed Richard, attended the Next Generation Biofuels Feedstocks USA meeting in San Francisco, CA.  Participants include:  regulatory officials, project developers, leading R&D experts and investors. The meeting's focus was on addressing the key challenges in developing next generation biofuels as well as a comparison of existing and next generation feedstock developments.  Dr. Richard was invited to make a presentation titled:  "Sugar and Energy Canes as Biofuels Feedstocks".


November 14, 2009:  Seventy members from the community visited the Sugarcane Research Unit's partner garden.  The SRU has partnered with the BonneTerre Master Gardeners to promote the growing of spring and fall home gardens.  Growing in the fall garden at the SRU's Houma, Louisiana's location were broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, leaf lettuce, brussels sprouts, radishes, turnips, mustard greens, collards, and garlic.  Many questions were fielded and the information disseminated provided help for those wishing to grow a home garden.  Dr Thomas Tew (Research Geneticist), Ms. Sarah Harris (Purchasing Agent), and Mr. Eric Petrie (Research Technician/Liaison) represented the SRU with Mr. Petrie participating in some of the presentations.