The LSU AgCenter is offering many tips for keeping plants and trees alive during this cold snap. The AgCenter’s Shreveport-based horticulture agent Melea Martin said fragile plants should’ve been covered or moved during the last two nights of the hard freeze, but with care.
“During the freeze you want to make sure that if you do cover your plants with plastic, that the plastic is not touching the plant at all. It can cause damage to the plant," Martin said.
The corn harvest in Louisiana is in full swing, and on the stalks are large ears of corn. Ronnie Levy, LSU AgCenter’s corn specialist, said Louisiana farmers are expecting a bumper crop. The state has about 700,000 acres of corn, a significant increase over recent years. But the difference this year, according to Levy, is the price of a bushel of corn is about half of what it was last year, since the harvest in the Midwest is expected to be equally abundant.
The cost of the traditional Thanksgiving spread is up 13.2 percent in Louisiana. Analysis from the LSU AgCenter found a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people will cost $44.35. Kurt Guidry, LSU AgCenter extension economist, said that’s an increase of $5.16 from last year’s Baton Rouge average.
Guidry said it’s mainly due to the drought in the Midwest, which drove up the cost of feed for turkeys. The USDA projects a 2.5 to 3.5 percent price increase in all at-home food from 2011 to 2012.
The LSU AgCenter is working with high school coaches across the state to improve the condition of football fields. Turfgrass specialist Ron Strahan says many playing fields are in rough shape. He creates a "cookbook recipe" and month-by-month plan for improving the turf as part of the Field of Excellence program.