Innovation and Application — the Competitive Edge is the theme of the 2005 Beltwide Cotton Conferences to be held at the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton New Orleans hotels Jan. 4-7. The National Cotton Council is the conferences' primary coordinator.

NCC Chairman Woody Anderson, Colorado City, Texas, producer, said, “This forum helps speed the transfer of current and emerging technology to U.S. cotton producers, and it helps them tailor those tools to their operations. Properly adopting, adapting and applying such innovations often can be the difference in achieving profitability.”

The 50th annual Beltwide Cotton Production Conference is set for Jan. 5-6 and will begin with Anderson's report on key industry issues, NCC Senior Vice President John Maguire's update on Washington, D.C., activities, and Cotton Incorporated CEO Berrye Worsham's presentation on that organization's role in achieving the competitive edge.

Among other topics being considered for the conference's general session are:

  • production systems and tillage issues, including a discussion of stale-bed, limited-till and no-till;

  • new chemistries and transgenic products in the pipeline, including a look at today's regulatory environment;

  • weed resistance management;

  • nematode management; and

  • managing today's insect pest threats; and 6) quality's impact on producer income.

Other key presentations include an innovative grower panel representing all Cotton Belt regions and marketplace insights from Memphis Merchant William B. Dunavant Jr.

Conferences Steering Committee Chairman Bill Lovelady, El Paso, Texas, producer, noted that after 50 years the Cotton Production Conference still is designed to give U.S. cotton producers immediate assistance in the upcoming growing season as well as help them plan for long-term viability.

He said his committee voted to shorten the conferences from four days to three beginning with the 2005 forum. The general session will be shortened on the second day to allow for a full complement of special seminars and workshops. All 12 cotton technical conferences will be a day and a half long and include poster sessions.

The Cotton Foundation Technical Exhibit will be open Jan. 5-6. Lovelady said the amount of information presented at the three-day format will be only slightly less than in the past.

“By tightening up the forum, though, the reports on current products and practices will flow seamlessly into presentations on changes in technology that are in the pipeline,” he said. “Our hope is that this will enhance attendees' information-gathering opportunities, including greater participation in the technical conferences that many growers and consultants find beneficial.”

Dale Thompson, NCC's manager of marketing and processing technology who coordinates the Production Conference program, said one of the workshops being planned will focus on seedling diseases. He said the session will cover the value of fungicide, insecticide and nematicide treatments; a description of early-season pests and management options; a comparison of seed treatments for pest management versus other management strategies; and what the future holds regarding seedling diseases and their treatment.

A 2005 conferences' information booklet was mailed in late September to previous and potential attendees, and that information will be posted on the NCC's Web site, http://beltwide.cotton.org. Hotel reservations will be open to NCC members in early October and for the general public on Nov. 2.

For further information, contact the NCC's Debbie Richter, P.O. 820285, Memphis, Tenn. 38182, 901-274-9030, or beltwide@cotton.org.

The Beltwide Cotton Conferences brings together those with a stake in a healthy U.S. cotton production sector, including industry members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, consultants and allied product and service providers. More than 3,500 attended the 2004 conferences in San Antonio, Texas.