New Format for Beltwide Cotton Conference

The National Cotton Council cotton-board.jpgcoordinated Beltwide Cotton Conferences has a new format that no longer includes the production conference component but continues the forum’s technical conferences and adds emphasis to the consultant’s conference.

The 2014 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 6-8 at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, will include a half-day Cotton Consultants Conference and the day and a half Cotton Technical Conferences. The 2014 Consultants Conference, set for Monday, January 6, will be more robust, providing technical information desired by consultants and others involved in key production/marketing-related decisions such as Extension specialists/agents, industry sales/support personnel and many producers.

Planned for the 2014 Consultants Conference are new developments from industry, including discussions of new varieties and chemistries. Also included will be special sessions where scientists, from the various disciplines ranging from agronomy to weed science, will interact with attendees to foster a lively exchange of ideas and experiences.

Deere Harvest ID Cotton at Beltwide

bwcc13-deereWe told you about John Deere’s Harvest Identification, Cotton when it was first introduced last year at Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

This year we got an update from Janae (formally Althouse) Tapper on this precision harvest technology and grower adoption of it.

“John Deere harvest identification is really important to the cotton growers so they can understand how many modules are being built with in a field. We are really looking at continuing to reduce labor requirements that are needed in cotton production especially around 7760. We understand that with the introduction of that machine we are building four modules for every one traditional module. So, it increases labor to go out and tag each of those individual modules.”

“In our technology division we saw a use to utilize the RF ID reading technology that we have in the round module wrap to enable them to reduce that manuel labor going out and tagging the modules. We are automatically reading those RF ID tags in the modules and sending that information to the display in the cab of the machine.”

Janae shared that cotton producers are continuing to be on board with the adoption of precision agriculture. And since the launch of time & money saving technology, John Deere’s growers are sending in very positive feedback.

Listen to an interview with Janae here: Janae Tapper interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Bayer CropScience Honors Cotton Growers for Yields

bwcc13-bayer-brehmerBayer CropScience and FiberMax® cotton are looking for more members to join the FiberMax One Ton Club™.

“More than 410 growers who’ve achieved 2,000 pounds of cotton to the acre on at least 20 acres, doing that with more than 27 varieties,” Jeff Brehmer, U.S. marketing manager for FiberMax, told attendees of the Beltwide Cotton Conference, highlighting the high yields of the varieties. And he says the fiber quality of the FiberMax cotton is recognized throughout the world. “We hear from gins out there who know they are ginning FiberMax cotton because it so much more efficient going through the gin. Those are the characteristics of that brand that we need to continue to deliver.”

Brehmer said that even in areas where water and growing conditions don’t make it possible for growers to achieve 2,000 pounds per acre, the FiberMax varieties still offer significant increases over what they had been growing. “The emotion also comes from where a farmer maybe 10 years ago was growing 350 pounds on their dryland but today is now growing 550 pounds. That success and emotion come with reaching levels that are attainable respective to your area.”

Growers can submit their qualification forms between now and March 1, 2013. Forms are available at local gins, through Bayer CropScience sales reps and online at www.FiberMax.com. Both first-time One Ton Club qualifiers and past members need to submit qualification forms for membership in the 2012 One Ton Club class. Members will be recognized at a banquet in April 2013 and have a chance to win a two-year lease on a Ford® Super Duty® F-350 King Ranch® truck. They also receive special FiberMax One Ton Club apparel and gifts.

Listen to Jeff talk about FiberMax and the One Ton Club here: Jeff Brehmer, FiberMax

FMC Display Shows Results in 2012

bwcc13-displayNew Display (TM) cotton harvest aid from FMC Corporation showed good results in limited use last season and the company is now looking forward to expanded use this season. Rusty Mitchell gave us some of the technical details about Display already, Randy Childress then talked to us about the results he saw last year in the field.

Randy covers west Texas and into New Mexico for FMC and was able to see Display at work as a harvest aid for cotton in his area. “Did a very good job, pleasantly surprised with the effects we got with this in a tank mix,” Randy said. “Display gave us a very versatile product that we used in a lot of different conditions.”

Randy says Display offers the same advantage of Aim herbicide in that it can be used without harm to cover crops like wheat. “Display fit like a glove,” he said. “You can put it out, take the leaves off the cotton without harming any adjacent crop or the cover crop.”

Display was just released last August so this will be the product’s first full year of commercial availability for cotton growers throughout the cotton belt.

Listen to my interview with Randy here: Randy Childress interview

Check out photos from the conferences here: 2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Cotton Trade Dispute Update

bwcc13-ncc-adamsExtension of the 2008 farm bill raises questions about resolution of the cotton trade dispute with Brazil, according to Dr. Gary Adams, Vice president of economics and policy analysis for the National Cotton Council.

“I think we have to figure out how Brazil reacts to a one year extension (of the farm bill),” Gary said in an interview at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, noting that the framework agreed to with Brazil in 2010 allowed the United States time to adopt new WTO-compliant cotton policy in a new farm bill. “Is Brazil going to accept a short term extension and see how things play out? We just don’t know the answer to that question.”

Gary says the U-S cotton industry has been facing a slightly different challenge from another country as well recently. “We’ve been dealing with a trade dispute with Peru for the last 6-8 months,” he said. “Countries can initiate their own countervailing duty investigation if they’re concerned that imports into their country are causing harm to their domestic industry. That is what Peru initiated last summer.”

That investigation is proceeding and Adams expects they will know more by the end of March.

Listen to my interview with Gary here: Gary Adams interview

Thanks to Randall Weiseman of Southeast AgNet for providing the photo!

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Stoneville Offers Two New Cotton Varieties

bayer-logoWith weed resistance exploding across America’s farmland, Bayer CropScience has introduced two new Stoneville cotton varieties for 2013 that give cotton growers more tools to fight weed resistance and rotate herbicide chemistries on their farms.

bwcc13-bayer-nicholsSteve Nichols, U.S. Agronomic Services Manager for Bayer CropScience, gave the media an overview of the new varieties during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences last week.

Nichols explained that the ST 4946GLB2 is an early-medium maturing GlyTol LibertyLink Bollgard II variety with exceptional yield potential. “It’s widely adapted across the entire cotton-growing region. That speaks a lot about the stability and the consistency of the performance of it,” adding that it has offers root-knot nematode tolerance. “We’re looking for more varieties with different maturities to give that root-knot nematode tolerance, and this is going to deliver that.” Plus, he said it will have tolerance to the Liberty herbicides.

The other variety, ST 6448GLB2, gives a full-season capability. “It’s the first variety that we’ve really had that meets that full-season market for the South Region. So this variety fits very well in the South Delta, the Georgia market and even into South Carolina,” Nichols said. It also has a dual-herbicide technology that gives growers, especially in Georgia, a tool against resistant weeds.

Nichols added that the development of the Bayer CropScience Agronomic Services, providing hundreds of field trials, helps his company make these kind of developments in cotton varieties to match the right varieties for the right fields.

Listen to Steve tell us about the new Stoneville varieties as well as the role of Bayer CropScience Agronomic Services: Steve Nichols, Bayer CropScience

Keeping the Media in High Cotton

bwcc13-ncc-staffMarjory Lynch Walker and T. Cotton Nelson have staffed the news room at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences for many, many of the event’s 58 year history and while they are not sure what the changes in store will mean for media attendance, they are looking forward to moving ahead.

“Media attendance has always been healthy here. We’ve had as many as 50-60 members here,” Cotton told me, adding that attendance has continued to be strong over the years, even as less growers have been attending. That’s why Cotton says they appreciate Monsanto’s sponsorship of the news room. “Their support has allowed us to have the equipment in here, a big room, food for the media – just to make it a really good working environment for the media.”

Cotton notes that there will still be lots of information to get out to producers with the revamped schedule for Beltwide next year. “We realize the transfer of technology by the news media of the information that’s presented here is great for cotton growers,” he said.

Listen to my interview with Cotton here: Cotton Nelson interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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FMC Committed to Cotton

bwcc13-fmc-stuDespite changes planned for Beltwide Cotton Conferences in 2014 that mean no more technical exhibits, FMC Corporation remains committed to involvement in technology transfer within the cotton industry, according to Product Manager Stu Throop.

“Needs are changing just as the industry’s changing,” said Stu, pictured here on the left with some of the FMC team at Beltwide. “The anchor to this is the technology exchange and that’s the part that’s going to be maintained and expanded on in the future.”

Stu says the cotton industry is important to FMC. “We have a history in the cotton industry going back to the beginnings of our company,” he said. “We were able to come in cotton with a series of new brands as the boll weevil eradication program was implemented and cotton acres increased … we just happened to have the right chemistry at the right time.”

With the advent of resistent weed strains, Stu says FMC been able to develop new products to help cotton growers remain competitive. “We’re playing a role in weed pest management in cotton and we’re very excited about some of the chemistries still to come.”

Listen to my interview with Stu here: Stu Throop interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Cooking with Cottonseed Oil

bwcc13-cottonseed-1Cotton Incorporated held one of the best press conferences I’ve ever attended at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences this week – featuring a cooking demonstration with flavor-infused cottonseed oils and some kickin’ Texas Tea.

You might remember Chuck doing a post about these great Acala Farms cottonseed oils after World Dairy Expo last year. We got to find out more about them from Tom Wedegaertner, Director of Cottonseed Research and Marketing for Cotton Inc., who says that they are hoping the specialty oils will help increase public awareness of cotton as a food crop.

“Per capita consumption of cottonseed oil is about three pints per person,” Tom explains. “It’s a wonderful frying oil, has a very high smoke point, so a lot of restaurants use it in their deep fat fryers.” Tom says it’s also used in salad dressings because it has a very light, delicate taste that lends itself well to adding other flavors.

Listen to Tom talk about it here: Tom Wedegaertner interview

bwcc13-chefSan Antonio Marriott Executive Chef Donald Hoffman provided a demonstration and taste test for the media so we could find out for ourselves just how great these flavor-infused cottonseed oils are. First, he made Salmon Salpicon featuring the Jalapeno Lime and Cilantro flavored oils. He also made a BBQ sauce with Chipotle flavor on chicken breast sauteed in fresh-roasted garlic cottonseed oil.

You can watch Chef Donald demo the salmon recipe in the video below and if you want to find out more about these great tasting cottonseed oils, go to Acala-Farms.com.

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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FMC Seeking Registration for Anthem on Cotton

bwcc13-akinFMC Corporation is working on registration of a new herbicide for resistant weed control in cotton by 2014. Growers at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences had a chance to hear more about it this week from Scott Akin with FMC.

“Anthem is going to be a valuable pre-emergence herbicide I think for cotton growers across the belt for use against grasses and small seeded broadleaf weeds, particularly Palmer ameranth,” Scott said.

As growers heard at the Beltwide, and most already know, glyphosate-resistant Palmer ameranth pigweed continues to spread across the cotton belt – showing up in even Arizona this past year, so FMC is working hard on field testing for the registration of Anthem in 2014. Anthem has already been registered for use on corn and is expected on soybeans soon.

To find out more, listen to my interview with Scott here: Scott Akin interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Beltwide Cotton Loves Ag Media

bwcc13-groupThere were a few tears and a lot of laughs as the National Cotton Council hosted dinner to thank members of the ag media for their many years of covering the Beltwide Cotton Conference.

We all gathered together after dinner for a memory photo – click on the picture for a larger image. Many of us pictured here have known each other for 20-30 years! Are we really that old? At least one person with us – the young lady seated second from the left – wasn’t even born when most of us were starting our careers! That is Amy Mohundro with NCC and she seemed to enjoy listen to us old folks reminisce.

Next year will be a different format for the Beltwide, without the Production Conference and exhibitors that have been the main draw for the media over the last couple of decades. But the technical conferences will remain and NCC is hopeful that media serving the cotton belt will still attend to get new information out to producers.

Thanks so much to Marjory Walker and Cotton Nelson and the rest of the NCC staff for making the media’s job so easy. This was only my second Beltwide – the first was well over 20 years ago – but I had a really great time catching up with old friends like former NAFB president John Winfield and his wife Mary. I had not seen them for 15 years! And thanks also to Monsanto for sponsoring a well-equipped and comfortable media room.

Thanks also to FMC Corporation for sponsoring our coverage and allowing me to be a part of this event. I will be adding more posts and audio to this post with Cotton later. On my way now to join Chuck in Key West for a day of R&R.

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Weed Resistance in Texas Cotton Increasing

bwcc13-baumannCotton growers in the Southeast have been dealing with weed resistance since the first case was confirmed in Georgia in 2005. While it spread rapidly in that region, Texas cotton growers have been comparatively resistance-free – but not anymore, according to Dr. Paul Baumann with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension who gave growers an update at the Beltwide Cotton Production Conference Tuesday.

“Over the past couple years, 2011-2012, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of reported or suspected sites, particularly for common waterhemp,” he said. “We have confirmed resistance in a large percentage of these sites. Bottom line is – we’ve got the issue.”

That’s mainly in southern Texas, but there is resistance rapidly developing in the plains as well where they have found a large number of sites with resistant Palmer ameranth pigweed. “We that being one of the major cotton production areas, this is a big issue for us,” Dr. Baumann said.

He says they believe one reason Texas has been slower to develop resistance to glyphosate is that growers have already been using multiple modes of action, which is the primary way to fight the problem.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Baumann here: Paul Baumann interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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FMC Team at Beltwide Cotton

bwcc13-fmc-teamThe FMC team at the 2013 Beltwide Cotton Conferences has been hard at work here talking to growers about Display and Anthem. We sincerely appreciate their support making coverage of this year’s event possible. Since this is the last year that technical exhibits will be a part of the Beltwide, the FMC folks say they will miss this opportunity to interact with cotton growers, but they will still be involved in other shows in cotton producing areas.

Growers who stop by the booth here at Beltwide have been signing up to win $250 gift cards for Cabela’s – they had a drawing for one yesterday and will draw for another today. Stop by and win!

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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2012 Cotton Year in Review

bwcc13-morganDuring the Tuesday morning general session of the Cotton Production Conference in San Antonio, Gaylon Morgan with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service gave a review of 2012 in cotton production.

“Several of the states are going to set record yields this year,” Gaylon said, particularly in the Southeast and the Delta.

“As you move further west into Texas and Oklahoma, we were better than 2011, but we still only harvested about 72% of our cotton acres in Texas and Oklahoma only harvested about 50% of total cotton acres,” he continued, explaining that that was due in part to a continuation of the drought, but also to an early freeze. “Up in the high plains of Texas we had an early freeze October 8 in the irrigated cotton that was doing fairly well there that more or less ended the season for them.”

Way west in Arizona and California where the cotton is irrigated, yields are pretty consistent, but they did observe glyphosate resistant Palmer ameranth for the first time. “So the monster is moving further west,” he noted.

Listen to my interview with Gaylon here: Gaylon Morgan interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Washington Update for Cotton Producers

bwcc13-langeNational Cotton Council president and CEO Dr. Mark Lange gave his Washington update during the Beltwide Cotton Production Conference on Tuesday, explaining what the taxpayer relief act passed on New Year’s Day means for them with the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.

“One thing they didn’t do was make any cuts,” Mark told me during an interview. “All that means is the next four year farm bill is going to have five years worth of cuts in it. That’s going to make coming to a good resolution about farm policy all the more difficult.”

The big problem is all of the major issues that Congress has to deal with in the next 60-90 days – including sequestration, debt ceiling and the budget. Mark says he is concerned with what the farm bill extension might mean for the WTO cotton trade issue with Brazil. “I know the U.S. government will be talking with the Brazilians in the next week or so and we should get some feedback,” he said.

Listen to my interview with Mark here: Mark Lange interview

Check out photos from the conferences here: 2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Display New for Cotton from FMC

bwcc13-fmc-rustyDisplay is on display for cotton growers visiting with FMC Corporation this week at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

FMC Technical Support specialist Rusty Mitchell says Display (TM) is a new cotton harvest aid for defoliation and weed control that contains a combination of two PPO active ingredients – Carfentrazone, which is FMC’s Aim and Fluthiacet-methyl. “We wanted something that was a little bit gentler than what we’ve seen with carfentrazone, something a little more subtle from the standpoint of dropping leaves and less concerns with leaf sticking,” Rusty explains.

Display was just released last August so this will be the first full year of commercial availability. Rusty will be doing a presentation on Display Thursday morning for growers here at Beltwide – and more information is always available at FMCcrop.com.

Listen to my interview with Rusty here: Rusty Mitchell interview

Check out photos from the conferences here: 2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Cotton Council Chairman Optimistic about 2013

bwcc13-coleyDespite various weather challenges, 2012 was a good year overall for cotton production, especially where National Cotton Council Chairman Chuck Coley farms in Georgia, and he is optimistic about the year ahead.

“We had an excellent crop in the Southeast, in fact we’re still ginning that crop,” Chuck told Southeast AgNet‘s Randall Weiseman. “We always wish the price is better but we see a bright future for cotton in the Southeast.”

Chuck says acreage will definitely be down this year because of the price but he is hopeful about the U.S. regaining its competitive edge in the future. “There’s some problems with the supply in China and getting consumption back up but I think through programs like National Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated will keep working.”

Listen to Randall’s interview with Chuck here: Chuck Coley interview

Check out photos from the conferences here: 2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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New Format for Beltwide Cotton in 2014

bwcc12-hoodOnce upon a time, there were as many as 750 producers who attended Beltwide Cotton Conferences, but now it’s down to about 200 – so it’s time for a change.

Producer/ginner Kenneth Hood of Mississippi has attended 32 Beltwides over the years and he was on the steering committee that made the decision on how to update the meeting for today’s world. “We felt it’s better to keep the Beltwide for the technical conferences, for our research papers, and for our consultants,” he said. “Then we’ll have regional meetings to help me address particular problems in my area.”

Listen to my interview with Kenneth here: Kenneth Hood interview

Check out photos from the conferences here: 2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album

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Preparing For 2012 Cotton Season With FMC

During the Beltwide Cotton Conferences I visited with Gerald Simmons, FMC Southern Business Manager, about some best management practices and things to consider when preparing for this year’s crop. He says the business has changed, especially technology, but that growers should also consider some of those “old” options they have. FMC has a broad portfolio now for cotton that growers can look to.

Like me, Gerald observed how many young farmers were in attendance here at the event and found that gratifying. As he put it, “We need youth, we need some new people coming along to farm.”

Listen in to my interview with Gerald here: Interview with Gerald Simmons

2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Photo Album

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John Deere Cotton Harvest Module Identification

John Deere talked up its latest application for cotton growers during this year’s Beltwide Cotton Conferences. Harvest Identification Cotton will continue to automate the production of a cotton module. This is tied into the 7760 cotton picker. The application will use the RFID tags that are embedded into the module wrap. These will be captured by an RFID reader on the cotton picker and then that information will be complied along with data from the John Deere Starfire receiver. That will generate a file that can be sent to the ginner and grower. Janae says it will be available soon.

Listen in to my interview with Janae here: Interview with Janae Althouse

2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Photo Album

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