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A Beltwide Cotton Conference First After Decades of Attending

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It’s that time of the year when farmers are headed to meetings to hear about new products, agronomic practices and other things that will be beneficial to know in the coming year. Meetings are held locally, by state and by various commodity organizations. If you are a cotton farmer or work in the cotton industry, you are probably already thinking about the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. I know I am.

The Beltwide holds a long tradition for the industry as well as for many of its members. I wrote about my first Beltwide experience before.  There are meetings of all sorts to bring together farmers, scientists, marketers and every other part of the cotton industry which makes Beltwide a truly unique meeting. And this year while I’m walking on familiar ground, I get a new experience, but I’ll get to it in a few minutes.

There are a number of topics of particular interest to Monsanto’s customers, that we anticipate farmers, cotton consultants and others will want to attend.

The New Developments from Industry session on Tuesday afternoon, January 8 includes several new cotton varieties from Deltapine.

  • Greg Ferguson will talk about DP 1311 B2RF, an early-maturity variety for the upper and central Mid-South. Evaluated in the program as 11R124B2R2, it has shown very good storm resistance, outstanding yield potential and significantly better mic than DP 0912 B2RF.
  • Eric Best will cover about DP 1359 B2RF, a full-season variety for Arizona and West Texas. Evaluated in the program as 11R159B2R2, it has shown to be very responsive to high-yield environments and outstanding high yield potential.
  • Dave Albers rounds out the new variety presentations discussing DP 358 RF, a new Pima Roundup Ready Flex Variety for the full-season markets in which farmers grow high quality Pima fiber.

Weed management is a topic farmers in the Cotton Belt have been working in diligently for several years. The amount of research in the area is significant and will be presented in a variety of forums during the Beltwide. On Wednesday morning, Scott Bollman will be presenting information and data on Roundup Ready® Xtend Cotton, a product currently in development. Third party research on the product that focused on tolerance to dicamba and glufosinate herbicides will also be presented at the event including a Tuesday afternoon cotton specialist workshop by Darrin Dodds  of Mississippi State University.

Irrigation and water use are always of interest for Texas farmers but drought has made it critical to remain up-to-date on it. While larger issues (land rights, etc.) are being debated on that macro level, academics and companies like Monsanto are working to provide farmers with the most water-efficient varieties they can. The company’s Doug Jost will present a paper titled “Deltapine Water Use Efficiency of Commercial Varieties – What Works On Your Farm?” on Thursday morning.

Finally, I get to leave my mark on the last of the Beltwide Production Conferences during a Tuesday afternoon workshop. I will be alongside two other social media users for “You Are Now the Media: Social Networking in Agriculture” Tuesday morning from 10:30 to noon. My presentation will focus on the use of smartphones in the quest to provide information in videos and photos.

Speaking at Beltwide makes this a first for me but one in which I expect to see familiar faces giving me that friendly smile like Mr. Ray & Ms Dorothy did decades agoI have joked that my being allowed to present at a conference of PhDs and researchers indicates the end of the world as we know it. But in reality, this year marks the last Production Conference for the cotton industry. The other technical conferences will continue and I expect more people will be encouraged to use social media to both communicate their experiences and to learn from others. And if that’s the case, maybe my being on the agenda makes perfect sense.

You can access the full agenda for the conferences on the National Cotton Council’s Beltwide microsite.

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