Tuesday, April 1,  2014



Today's Update! 


March 31 Prospective Plantings Report For Louisiana From USDA


 Corn: Louisiana corn growers intend to plant 480,000 acres, down 29 percent from last year's 680,000 acres.

Cotton: All cotton acreage intentions are at 180,000 acres, up 38 percent from last year.

Hay All: All hay acres expected to be harvested in Louisiana are estimated at 360,000 acres, down 40,000 acres harvested from 2013.

Rice: Intended planted acres for all rice for 2014 are 421,000 acres, up 1 percent from the previous year's 418,000 acres.

Sorghum: Sorghum growers intend to plant 110,000 acres, down 4 percent from last year.

Soybeans: Soybean growers intend to plant 1.35 million acres in 2014, up 21 percent from last year.

Sugarcane: The first 2014 estimate of sugarcane acreage for harvest will be available on June 30, 2014.

Sweet Potato: Sweet potato growers intend to plant 9,000 acres, up 1,000 acres from last year.

Winter Wheat: Wheat acreage in Louisiana is down 38 percent from last year to an estimated 160,000 acres planted for all purposes in 2014.




Sugar Byproducts Show Promise In Plastics   


Louisiana sugar producers may one day have a stake in the U.S. plastics industry, with the help of LSU AgCenter researchers. 

LSU AgCenter personnel at the Audubon Sugar Institute are researching how to make plastic from a byproduct of sugar production. Aconitic acid, an organic acid that is found in significant levels in energycane, sugarcane and sweet sorghum juices, is a potential source of biodegradable plastics. 

"This acid can be formulated into polyester - or plastic. It is very versatile in terms of how it can be used," said Derek Dorman, an LSU AgCenter polymer scientist at the Audubon Sugar Institute. 

Because aconitic acid can be harvested from plants, it has less environmental impact when synthesized into biodegradable polyester plastics, unlike plastics produced from crude oil. The acid is extractable from molasses, syrup or mud that is generated during the production of sugar syrups.  

Researchers at Audubon are studying how to synthesize nontoxic, biodegradable polyesters from aconitic acid, cinnamic acid and glycerol - all potential products of the sugarcane and biodiesel industries - which could be used as structures for skin and bone tissue engineering.  

A variety of created polyesters will be fabricated and made into filaments for use in a 3-D printer. The printer prints acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer 3-D models. The printing is made by heating the plastic and fusing layers together based on a template designed with 3-D computer-aided-design software.  

Some items that have been printed using a 3-D printer include a prosthetic hand, acoustic guitar, camera lens, flute and weaving loom. Making prosthetics "is an area we are interested in," Dorman said. "Of course, this will be sometime in the future, but we hope to increase the available options by providing more polymeric materials with environmental concerns in mind." For example, he said, the process could be used to create a replacement ear.  

To create a replacement ear, a matrix composed of the biodegradable polymer would be used to make the structure to grow cells, Dorman said. The 3-D printer would print the shape of an ear, and the plastic shape would be inoculated with cells to grow a normal ear. 

This is just one project at the Audubon Sugar Institute. In another, researchers are studying how to use energycane and sweet sorghum to produce butanol, gasoline, isoprene and byproduct chemicals.  

Researchers with the Sustainable Bioproducts Initiative are studying how to use energycane and sweet sorghum as major sources for biofuels. The AgCenter program is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture AFRI-CAP program. 



Commodity Assessment Bills Clear House Panel


Four bills that would reinstate voluntary commodity assessments on Louisiana farmers to fund research and promotion cleared the House Agriculture Committee in front of an overflow crowd of producers.

The rice research bill (House Bill 886) by Rep. Jack Montoucet, D-Crowley, a rice promotion bill (HB 1045) by Rep. Harvey LaBas, D-Ville Platte, LaBas' soybean and grain research and promotion bill (HB 878) and a crawfish research and promotion bill (HB 1056) by Rep. Eddie Lambert, R-Gonzales, now head to the full House floor.

"It's clear that these bills have widespread support among legislators and producers," said Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, who said future research at the LSU AgCenter would be crippled without the assessments. "It's critical we see these bills all the way through the Legislature."

Louisiana farmers, through their various commodity associations, have assessed themselves fees for decades, but last year the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled the fees unconstitutional. The court said only the Legislature can levy such assessments.

Revenue from past assessments has funded research at the LSU AgCenter (rice, grain and soybeans) as well as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (crawfish).

All of the bills being considered have a refund provision for farmers if they don't want to participate.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Andy Anders, D-Vidalia, said he worked closely with producers to make sure the bills were supported throughout the industry.

"Everybody's on the same page," Anders said. "I'm very pleased."

If passed by the full House, the bills still must be approved in the Senate.





Have you  had your Louisiana Strawberries today?  They're here and again unbelievably wonderful! 



Monday's  Closing Market Prices


Nov  Soybeans                  1187.2 down 3.2

Dec Cotton                         80 even up 7

North & South

   Delta Cotton                    8952 down 22

Sept  Corn                          498.2 up 11

Sept   Rice                          1437 down .5

Sept  Wheat                        708.6 up 2

#16 Sugar May                    1777 down 21

April   Live Cattle                 145-85 down 65

April Feeder Cattle              177-12.5 down 122.5




Don Molino & Neil Melancon 

Please contact us with any questions or feedback regarding information you would like to receive in this e-letter. 


Don Molino

Senior Farm Broadcaster



(225) 291-2727, ext. 210