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Model sugarcane farm highlighting nutrient management research


At Keith Dugas’s farm representatives
from government agencies we’re getting an up-close look at one of the two model
farms established by a grant from the Patrick F Taylor Foundation. The farm is
being used to show techniques that can improve the environment and make the
floor more productive by using inputs more efficiently.
You know just telling somebody is one thing. But if you could show them on
paper or with a yield monitor and stuff that we put on the machine, that actually
proves what we’re saying it actually works.
One tool being employed is called Green Seeker, a variable rate fertilizer
technology that applies nitrogen at different rates based on a vegetative
index provided in real time. For sugar cane growers, the appropriate amount of
nitrogen is critical. For Sugarcane, an excessive amount of nitrogen fertilizer
can cause reduction in sucrose content meaning some sugarcane may be less sweet.
Farmers like Dugas are becoming more receptive to technology because they can
see the benefits both economically and environmentally. I think it’s amazing to
see these growers willing to implement this technology, not only to
save money, but you know better the environment. One of the goals of the
project and the Taylor Foundation is to reduce nutrients entering waterways in
contributing to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The Taylor’s have always
dedicated some of its resources for research. We think through research we
can make a difference. The Dugas farm work will be conducted on
a 65 acre plot which will allow the study to be done on a scale of a typical
production field. With the LSU AgCenter this is Craig Gautreaux reporting.

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