Agriculture

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Improper watering and calcium deficiency can be the cause of blossom end rot in tomatoes. (Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter)

It’s time to talk tomatoes

I’ve been getting a great deal of questions about tomatoes lately. ‘Tis the season. Most folks who planted vegetable gardens in this spring are now reaping the fruits of their work.
And with this season of harvest comes the challenges of the weather of the season, which is favorable for many of the diseases that affect tomatoes. But not every problem is caused by disease. Some can be because of fertility issues, lack of pollination, inadvertent herbicide damage and pests.
Let’s look at some of these issues and how to deal with them.

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Crop consultant Blake Buller, left, and LSU AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell look at rice plants damaged by hail during a storm on May 26. (Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

Hail damages portion of rice crop

Rice plants are recovering from a hailstorm last week, but yield losses are expected in some fields.
The storm hit on the night of May 26. The National Weather Service indicated hail up to 2 inches in diameter fell on a 200-square-mile area of southwest Louisiana, mostly north of Welsh and Jennings. Hail also was reported in northern Acadia Parish.
“It’s really unfortunate we have such extensive hail damage in the region,” said LSU AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell. “The rice crop prior to the hail looked excellent.”

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Poultry, livestock producers face economic challenges from coronavirus

The LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation have drafted a request for federal aid for poultry producers, who are not included in the most recent farm aid package — but the request has been turned down.
Poultry is the largest agricultural enterprise in Louisiana. LSU AgCenter livestock specialist Jason Holmes said poultry is a major component of the north Louisiana economy.
Holmes and AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry drafted the funding request letter.

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Soybean planting is underway in St. Landry Parish. Conditions in late March and early April 2020 have allowed farmers in the central part of the state to plant soybeans. The optimum planting window for soybeans in Louisiana is April 10 through May 10. (Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

Farmers still planting soybeans despite COVID-19 challenges

Soybeans are Louisiana’s largest crop in terms of acreage, and farmers across the state are busy planting this year’s crop despite the challenges of COVID-19.
“About 10% of the state has been planted,” said LSU AgCenter state soybean specialist David Moseley. “We’re a little behind where we were last year, but we are right on the five-year average.”
Pointe Coupee farmer George Lacour intends to plant 2,400 acres of soybeans this year. “So far, we have 600 acres planted.” Lacour said.

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