LSU AgCenter

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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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Survey shows crawfish income down, season shortened

Results from a survey of crawfish producers show that decreased demand for their product is resulting in lost income of about $500 an acre and a season that could end about 40 days sooner than usual in some cases.
“When you look at all those things, it’s a pretty impactful scenario for producers,” said LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry, who compiled the survey results.
A total of 67 producers responded to the survey, representing more than 10% of the total estimated crawfish acres in the state, Guidry said.

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Duane Smith, left, discusses his rice and crawfish operation with growers as Terreca Bates-Wells, the director of special projects at Capitol City Produce, right, looks on during the Meet the Buyer Day hosted by the LSU and Southern University ag centers in St. Landry Parish on Aug. 6. Smith is considering adding strawberries to his rice and crawfish operation. (Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter)

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Kevin Cazeaux, the local produce buyer for Rouses Markets, right, discusses with a small farmer the type produce he’s in search of during the LSU and Southern University ag centers’ Meet the Buyer Day in St. Landry Parish on Aug. 6. (Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter)

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A group of next-generation St. Landry Parish farmers discuss crops they need to grow to meet the demand of produce buyers. The growers were participating in the LSU and Southern University ag centers’ Meet the Buyer meeting in Opelousas on Aug. 6. (Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter)

Ag centers bring buyers to small farmers

Small-scale vegetable growers in St. Landry Parish recently met face-to-face with major produce buyers in the area to discuss ways to market their produce.
Many times small farmers are left out of the equation when produce buyers go looking for products to buy, said LSU AgCenter extension associate Alessandro Holzapfel.
Holzapfel, along with Antonio Harris, director of sustainable agriculture and rural development with the Southern University Ag Center, coordinated the Meet the Buyer Day in Opelousas.
Harris said the goal of the meeting was two-fold.

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Deadline approaching for LSU AgCenter Leadership Program

The LSU AgCenter Agricultural Leadership Development Program aims to provide potential leaders involved with agriculture and agribusiness the tools they need to become effective advocates for agriculture.
For those interested in applying for the next class that starts in January 2020, the deadline is Aug. 30.
“It is a great opportunity to learn about the critical issues facing agriculture,” said program director Bobby Soileau.
Since its inception in 1988, more than 400 people have graduated from the program.

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