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LSU Ag Center offers online video service for farmers

VIDALIA — Farmers always have to worry about insects and weeds destroying their crops, and detecting them early has been the best way of avoiding major problems.

In an agriculturally driven economy, a successful crop means good news for area residents, so being able to spot potential crop threatening problems is a major task for farmers.

The LSU AgCenter recently posted a series of videos on their website showing farmers how to scout for insects and diseases in their crops.

Videos for rice, soybean, citrus, corn and cotton crop scouting can be found at www.lsuagcenter.com.

LSU AgCenter entomologist Natalie Hummel said the center wanted to make a tool to help train farmers who may not know what to look for in their crops.

“These are some valuable training tools,” she said. “This is a resource that can be accessed at any time, and it is offering farmers an amazing free opportunity.”

Hummel said the videos feature entomologists, state extension specialists and plant pathologists who focus on diseases and insects that are common in the area.

The value of being able to detect problems early with a crop cannot be overlooked, Hummel said.

“Timely applications for herbicides are critical to the overall health of the crops and yields at the end of the season,” she said. “Being able to spot it early and appropriately identify what the problem is, is crucial to making sure the crop stays healthy.”

Monterey soybean, corn and milo farmer Greg Poole said planting crops earlier in the season is also a way at helping detect pest and weed problems.

“It’s an unwritten rule that if you plant something earlier in the year, your crop won’t be bug free, but it will help,” he said. “The earlier you plant them, the better you can check for diseases.”

Poole said he does not use the videos to help check for problems, and that most farmers in the area rely heavily on word of mouth to detect any problems.

“I go make sure that I check mine, and I know everyone else will check theirs,” he said. “You find a lot of the same problems with the farmers in the area.”

Hummel said scouting for problems is not the only topic the videos hit on, as topics like fertilization and soil issues.

Hummel also said the LSU AgCenter is going to continue to make videos for the site and even has plans to make the videos more accessible to the public in the form of an iPhone application.

“We are trying to bring it all together so it is handy for use by people in the field,” she said. “We are hoping it will speed up the process of scouting and what the tests are to find them.”

Hummel said there are approximately 20 videos up on the website right now and that they are accessible by anyone who needs their services.

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