Research and Outreach

Sample Research and Extension Programs

The School of Plant, Environmental, and Soil Sciences encompasses a wide range of research and outreach projects. The projects highlighted below are a brief glance at the exciting work LSU faculty are conducting.

Hands-on training in beef cattle forage

person takes hay sample

The LSU AgCenter offers many educational programs for beef cattle producers, including meetings, field days and podcasts. More recently, in-depth programs for beginning, semi-experienced and experienced cattle producers have been offered. These programs involve several days of instruction, and involve traditional classroom sessions and some field activities for producers to get some “hands-on” training. Each program has a forage component, and we discuss such topics as adapted forage species, forage fertilization, hay production, weed control and other topics.

Environmental Literacy 

three people standing behind poster presentation

Dr. Maud Walsh is committed to improving environmental literacy through K-12 educational outreach. She has led hands-on environmental activities at schools, community events and summer programs in partnership with Louisiana 4-H, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the Big Buddy program, and other organizations. Many outreach activities, such as at Baton Rouge Magnet High School STEM Day and shown in the photo, involve students in Dr. Walsh’s Environmental Management Systems service-learning classes at LSU. Dr. Walsh has conducted numerous workshops for K-12 science teachers, including most recently one designed to encourage middle- and high-school teachers to integrate agriculture-related concepts into basic science classes.

Evaluation of USDA industrial hemp germplasm in Louisiana

hemp plants on table

In collaboration with USDA ARS Geneva, we are evaluating 35 open-sourced hemp cultivars in Louisiana for their adaptability. These cultivars are evaluated in randomized block design in three replications. Based on the data collected, we can select the cultivars performing better in our conditions and use them to start our hemp fiber and grain breeding program. The cultivars will be used as parents to make controlled crosses with complaint cultivars and the populations will be evaluated in multiple locations within the state for their yields and resistance to stresses and diseases. The data collected will also be deposited in the national hemp database GRIN global for other researchers and producers to use when selecting varieties for cultivation. 

Plant Stress Molecular Biology

left is sugarcane plants in boxes, right is rows of rice plantsOur sugarcane molecular genetics research program makes use of the trait-genes and markers at the genome scale to develop genomic strategies to complement conventional breeding efforts toward development of sugarcane varieties with high sucrose content, disease resistance, cold tolerance, and better ratooning ability. In addition, our research delves into identifying regulatory genes and associated networks underlying traits such as water use efficiency in rice, aflatoxin resistant corn etc. to enhance our understanding of the plant’s responses to the stressors at tissue, organ, cellular and molecular levels that can be translated to develop varieties with resilience in the face of the changing climate.  

Salt Tolerance Evaluation at the Seedling stage in Rice

The increased frequency and intensity of climate related risks such as biotic and abiotic stresses is negatively impacting productivity of many crops including rice. Since rice will continue to be a major food crop in the foreseeable future, development of high-yielding climate smart rice varieties is critical to fulfil the global food requirement in the future.

In a project funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of USDA, our overall goal is to develop climate resilient rice varieties for improving sustainability of rice farming.

For more information about our research activities, visit the Crop Plants Genetics Laboratory Website.