YEARS AGO, farmers, chemical company representatives and parish Extension agents would meet in Oak Grove or Bastrop or St. Joseph, La., for coffee and donuts on a bright August morning. Then, they would load up in trucks and cars and spend the next day and a half in a long convoy driving from cotton field to cotton field in northeast Louisiana.

The old Louisiana Cotton Production Tour is being reborn but with a new twist. This year, Louisiana Extension personnel have chartered two buses that will carry participants on a wide circle through the heart of the Louisiana cotton country on Aug. 28.

“Anyone who wants to ride along in his own vehicle is welcome to do so,” says John Barnett, Extension cotton specialist with the LSU AgCenter in Winnsboro, La. “But we thought it would be more convenient to charter buses and cut down on the line of cars that used to make the tour.

Barnett said bus space is limited to the first 100 participants. Persons who want to ride the bus should contact the Scott Research/Extension Center in Winnsboro at 318-435-2908 to reserve a seat.

“This will be an excellent opportunity to travel around a section of the cotton growing area of Louisiana and observe management practices under commercial farm conditions,” said Barnett. “The field day will include stops at LSU AgCenter on-farm demonstration fields and a visit to the LSU AgCenter's Macon Ridge Research Station at Winnsboro.

The tour schedule

Aug. 28:
7:30 a.m. Assemble at Rayville Civic Center. Registration, coffee and refreshments.

8:15 a.m. Board buses and travel to Richland Parish Farms.

8:45 a.m. Varieties, cost analysis, irrigation scheduling — Charlie Noble, John Barnett, Steve Hague, Keith Collins, Darryl Rester.

11 a.m. Welcome to Macon Ridge Research Station — Wink Alison, coordinator, Macon Ridge Research Station.

11:15 a.m. Cotton entomology research — Roger Leonard.

11:30 a.m. Current cotton insect and crop situation — Ralph Bagwell, Carol Pinnell-Alison.

11:45 a.m. Cotton agronomic research — Don Boquet.

Noon. Lunch. History of Macon Ridge Station — Bob Hutchinson, resident director, Northeast Research Station. Comments by Bill Richardson, chancellor, LSU AgCenter; Paul Coreil, vice chancellor, director Cooperative Extension Service.

1:30 p.m. Board buses and travel to Morehouse Parish Farms.

2:30 p.m. Nematode control, varieties, post-directed herbicides, fiber quality, defoliation — John Shackelford, Jimmy Doles, John Barnett, Steve Kelly, Sandy Stewart, Terry Erwin, Richard Letlow.

5 p.m. Board buses and return to Civic Center in Rayville.

5:30 p.m. Arrive at Rayville and adjourn.

The event is hosted by the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Cotton Producers Association, and the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Cotton Committee.