U.S. cotton producers can tune in to practices that can turn over profits during the 2003 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Jan. 6-10, in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

The National Cotton Council is the primary coordinator of the forum. The theme of the 2003 forum is “In Harmony — Research, Resources, Results.”

The 48th annual Beltwide Cotton Production Conference, set for Tuesday, Jan. 7, and Wednesday, Jan. 8, will lead off with NCC Chairman Kenneth Hood discussing the U.S. cotton industry's health. The program also will focus on new farm law implementation, conservation title benefits, pest management trends/strategies, fiber quality updates, innovative farming practices and marketplace insights.

The pest management session will include an update on the regulatory status of old and new plant protection products as well as strategies for controlling insects, weeds, nematodes and seedling diseases and avoiding pest resistance.

“That session will feature multiple speakers and give attention to the many so-called secondary pests that often emerge as primary cotton pests,” said Dale Thompson, NCC's production conference program coordinator. “Emphasis also will be given to control strategies for managing and preventing herbicide resistant weeds.”

He said the session on fiber quality “will address the challenges of marketing off-quality cotton and the concerns of high micronaire and short staple. It also will address Western cotton growers' initiative to prevent sticky cotton to preserve their quality cotton reputation.” Also included will be a cotton quality year in review and an update on high-quality cotton spinning trials.

Thompson said one panel being planned will feature producers sharing their most important farming operation innovations. This may include practices ranging from variety selection to variable rate application techniques and strategies.

Memphis cotton merchant W.D. “Billy” Dunavant Jr. will share his marketplace insights.

The production conference's afternoon sessions will offer producers an opportunity to get in-depth information on conference topics. Seminars will be conducted on: new products and developments, pest management, efficient nitrogen management, Quicken on the farm and options/hedging. Workshops will focus on the conservation program and seedling diseases.

The Cotton Foundation Technical Exhibit will open a day earlier and run longer than in the past: Jan. 6, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Jan. 7 and 8, noon to 5 p.m. The cotton technical conferences will convene Jan. 9-10.

For further information, visit the NCC's Website at www.cotton.org/beltwide or contact the NCC's Debbie Richter, P.O. 820285, Memphis, TN 38182 (901-274-9030 or drichter@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.