From Cotton Grower Magazine – November 2015
When the 2016 Beltwide Cotton Conferences open in early January, the buzz surrounding the new auxin weed control technologies for cotton from Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences may be particularly loud. For that reason, the weed science discussions planned for the Consultants Conference that kicks off the three-day meeting will have a strong emphasis on preparing for the new options.
The Beltwide Cotton Conferences – coordinated by the National Cotton Council (NCC) – is set for January 5-7 at the New Orleans Marriott. The annual gathering brings together those with a stake in a healthy U.S. cotton production sector, including growers, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel/agents, consultants, and industry sales/support personnel.
“The Consultants Conference will begin with the New Developments from Industry segment on the afternoon of January 5,” said Bill Robertson, University of Arkansas cotton specialist and chair of the Consultants Conference. “We’ll get updates from companies on new varieties and new chemistries and technologies that our consultants and producers can use. In essence, it’s an update on things coming for next year.”
The next morning, specific production-related topics will take center stage. A good bit of attention will be focused on the weed control discussion led by Stanley Culpepper, University of Georgia Extension weed specialist, and Larry Steckel, Extension weed specialist with the University of Tennessee.
“We are collectively going to focus on the auxin technologies, specifically in terms of weed management programs and mitigating off-target movement,” said Culpepper. “We are also planning to address conservation tillage and its fit with the new technologies.
Steckel will focus on the cover crop work that he and Culpepper have been doing, as well as review early findings regarding PPO resistance in Palmer amaranth.
“We’re starting to get our programs fine-tuned,” explained Steckel. “Marestail is one of our biggest problems in the Mid-South, but we don’t have marestail where we have a cover crop. That helps save money. We’re also picking up another 20-30% on pigweed control as well, depending on the stand.
“With the new auxin systems, I think we’re going to be able to use cover crops in a new fashion that’s actually going to be better for weed control,” he added. “Growers will be able to better control things like a wheat/vetch blend closer to planting. The closer the burndown is to planting, the more weed control you get.”
Culpepper points out the importance of these presentations for both growers and consultants.
“It’s important to start studying and understanding the auxin technology information for both weed management and off-target movement,” he stressed. “It does offer the opportunity for reduced input costs and better weed control, but we have to be able to manage off-target movement.
“In my opinion, growers and consultants have to be able to understand these systems more than anything they’ve had to understand before in the area of weed control.”
Discussions on PPO resistance will focus on the preliminary studies done in the Arkansas and Tennessee fields where resistant Palmer amaranth was documented.
The Consultants Conference will also include entomology updates on plant bugs and thrips, as well as the latest research regarding neonicotinoid insecticides. A joint session of the Agronomy and Physiology Conference and the Soil Management and Plant Nutrition Conference – open to all attendees – follows, including an overview of the current status of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and how they may be effectively integrated into a precision agriculture program to improve production efficiency and profitability.
The 11 cotton technical conferences, ranging from agronomy to economics to ginning and more, will also meet concurrently on January 6, concluding by noon on January 7.
Registration and hotel reservations for the Beltwide Cotton Conferences can be made on the official Beltwide website. The site also includes a schedule of events and general information.
Registration costs before December 14 for the National Cotton Council-coordinated forum are $175 for NCC/Cotton Foundation members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, associations and consultants; $300 for non-NCC/Foundation members; and $80 for students.
On-site conference self-registration kiosks will be available 24 hours a day beginning the evening of January 4. NCC staff will be available on January 5 for attendees needing assistance with registration and name badge printing. Continuing education units (CEUs) will again be offered.