USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is now projecting the 2003 state yield average at 955 pounds of lint per acre, which shattered the old record by nearly 100 pounds. Earlier predictions had been for 895 pounds per acre.

The Cotton Forum, which will be held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Monroe, Tuesday, will help cotton producers grow profitable crops and build on the success of 2003, said Sandy Stewart, Extension cotton specialist with the LSU AgCenter, which is sponsoring the Forum.

"For example, one of the breakout sessions will address what effect or effects the planting date has on cotton yield and quality," Stewart said. "We also will have experts talking about ‘Rotation Cropping Systems and the Bottom Line,’ as well as ‘Owning Versus Leasing Farm Equipment.’ The conference will be very educational and very informative."

In addition to the items Stewart mentioned, other topics to be covered at this year’s Cotton Forum include a discussion on precision agriculture, an update on the LSU AgCenter’s Master Farmer Program and a report on the state’s boll weevil eradication programs.

A variety of breakout sessions will be offered beginning at 10:15 a.m. These sessions include discussions on weed control, disease management, nematode management, problems and progress in prescription pesticide application, insecticide performance during 2003 and a review of LSU AgCenter research and extension plans for 2004.

For more details on the Cotton Forum, contact Dr. Stewart at (318) 473-6520 or e-mail: sstewart@agcenter.lsu.edu

A. Denise Coolman is a writer for the LSU AgCenter.

e-mail: dcoolman@agcenter.lsu.edu