National Cotton Council president Mark Lange told Beltwide Cotton Conference attendees in San Antonio, Texas, that House and Senate agriculture committees will be hard at work developing new legislation after Congress failed to pass a comprehensive Farm Bill. Ironically, Congress did finally approve a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.
However, the committees will have to complete their work on new legislation with a yet unknown reduction in spending that could be greater than last year’s target. The extension of the 2008 law will expire on Sept. 30, 2013.
During his address to the Beltwide Cotton Production Conference, Lange highlighted several other issues confronting the industry. He pointed to the Brazilian/WTO case as a major priority for U.S. cotton. Brazil prevailed in its challenge of the target price and marketing loan for upland cotton and the export credit guarantee programs for all products in a World Trade Organization case filed more than 10 years ago.
“The ultimate thing for us right now is we need a negotiated settlement that should be part of a legislative package for the cotton program as well as the GSM export credit,” the NCC president says.
Lange noted that Congress faces three looming cliffs in the next 45 to 60 days as it deals with the debt ceiling, sequestration and a resolution to fund government operations after the current Continuing Resolution expires on March 27.
Nicosia Points To China
Joe Nicosia, executive vice president of Louis Dreyfus Commodities in Memphis, Tenn., gave a global marketing update and pointed to China’s recent purchases of domestic cotton for as much as $1.25 a pound as being detrimental to the country’s textile industry competitiveness and hurting global demand.
Nicosia projected that China is now sitting on a huge reserve of cotton stocks totaling around 46 million bales, including cotton imported from the United States and other countries and purchased from its own farmers at inflated rates.
Nicosia advised producers to watch for the marketplace shifting its focus from large global supplies to the tight free (available for purchase) stocks.
“It will get nervous and move up,” he says. “That’s when you should be pricing your cotton. And there will be opportunities for some small price spikes to get that done. Use those types of opportunities to receive a couple of extra cents. Keep your options open for 2014-15. A lot can change in the world very quickly.”
Gloomy Weather Forecast
John Nielsen-Gammon, climatologist at Texas A&M University, says that ocean temperatures are the only reliable guides for what might happen in the next few years – and as long as the North Atlantic remains warm, the forecast calls for drier summers in the south central and southwest United States, a trend that may last for another decade.
“Both oceans are effectively working against us,” he says, showing forecasts for the next six months that called for below-normal precipitation. Noting that Texas had received some good rains recently, he says that there is always the chance for a surprise.
Acreage Reduction Across Belt
Texas AgriLife Extension cotton specialist Gaylon Morgan says nearly every production region is projected to have a significant decrease in cotton acreage in 2013.
The decrease is more significant in the Delta region but will also be observed in the Southwest.
“At the prices we’re looking at, we need to continue to strive to find production efficiency in cotton, just to keep it competitive with the grain crops and the current grain crop prices,” he says.
Weed Resistance Found In Texas
Texas AgriLife Extension weed specialist Paul Baumann reports that fertile conditions in Texas last year led to an outbreak of glyphosate-resistant common waterhemp in east central Texas and suspected Palmer amaranth resistance in northwestern counties of Texas.
He says Texas A&M University has published best management practices, which “begins and ends with a soil-applied herbicide.” Noting the ease with which certain weeds spread, he adds, “We’re going to have to get off the tractor or the pickup and start chopping them down.”
New Format For BWCC
Kenneth Hood, chairman of the Beltwide Planning Committee, closed the Production Conference by describing the new structure beginning in 2014 – one based on the Committee’s recommendation and ultimate NCC Board adoption.
Saying it is important that the Beltwide evolve to meet the needs of the industry to remain viable, he says the NCC will continue to plan and operate the annual day and one half Technical Conferences. The New Developments From Industry session will merge into the Consultants Conference, which has been a part of the Beltwide since ’08.
In place of the Beltwide Cotton Production Conference and related workshops, the NCC will work with other industry and government organizations to provide input and assistance as needed with existing regional production meetings and conferences.
Additionally, the NCC will develop special programs of local and regional interest when appropriate. Hood noted that producer attendance at the Beltwide reflected the upcoming changes to the Beltwide Cotton Conferences as producer attendance has declined from a high of 770 in ’97 to just more than 200 the last few years.
“The Consultants Conference will be more robust and provide the technical information that consultants desire while providing a forum for Extension and researchers to interact with consultants and others involved in the decision making process,” Hood says.
“The Consultants Conference and the Technical Conferences will complement one another. The Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences will continue to be published and distributed as they have in the past.”
Dever Receives Genetics Award
Jane Dever, associate professor-cotton breeder for Texas AgriLife Research in Lubbock, is the recipient of the prestigious 2012 Cotton Gen-etics Research Award.
In recognition, she received a plaque and a monetary award.
Dever has been in her present post since 2008 where her major research focus includes development of new and differentiated germplasm with enab-ling technology and screening exotic germplasm collections for useful traits to be used in breeding cotton. Breeding targets include improved fiber quality; drought tolerance; nematode tolerance; tolerance to Verticill-ium dahlia (verticillium wilt), Theilaviopsis basicola (black root rot) and Xanthamonas (bacterial blight); and yield component improvement in high fiber quality lines.
During the 20 years before she took her present post at Texas AgriLife, she held key positions at several organizations, including the International Textile Center at Texas Tech University, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, AgrEvo, Aventis, Biotex and Bayer CropScience.
O’Leary Wins IPM Research Award
Patricia O’Leary was named the 2013 Winner of the Insect Research and Control Conference Award for Excellence in Cotton Integrated Pest Management
This award recognizes the outstanding career contributions of an individual to applied arthropod integrated pest management across the U.S. Cotton Belt, excelling in industry, research, Extension or educational programs that have benefited the cotton industry.
O’Leary, a native of Bolivar County, Miss., and the daughter of a cotton farmer, recently retired from Cotton Incorporated. The annual recognition is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and consists of an inscribed trophy and a monetary reward.
O’Leary earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Delta State University and a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University. Prior to joining Cotton Incorporated, she worked in the contract research industry and held research and product development positions in companies producing biologically based products.
Cottonseed Oil Gains In Popularity
A line of flavor-infused cooking oils developed in collaboration with Cotton Incorporated and marketed under the brand name Acala Farms, has recently been launched by Botham Brands, company officials have announced.
The oils and the Acala Farms brand are an outgrowth of research conducted by Cotton Incorporated in its efforts to add value to and open new markets for cotton, and, in turn, for America’s cotton producers.
Cotton has been considered a food crop by U.S. regulatory agencies for more than 100 years and is used in making many foods commonly found in American homes, according to Sarah Botham, president and director of marketing for Acala Farms.
Re-introducing cotton as a food crop is high on the list of priorities for Cotton Incorporated, according to Tom Wedegaertner, director of cottonseed research and marketing for Cotton Incorporated.
Five flavored oils – Fresh Roasted Garlic, Smokey Chipotle, Fresh Cilantro, Jalapeno-Lime and Hot Habanero – and Pure Cottonseed Oil, are the first available. Six more flavors are in development and will likely be released within three-to-six months, Botham says.
A special demonstration of the cooking oils was conducted for the ag media attending the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio.
Norton Wins Specialist Award
Randy Norton, Extension cotton specialist with the University of Arizona, has been recognized by his peers from across the Cotton Belt by being selected as the 2013 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year, a Bayer Crop-Science-sponsored event.
The annual award and banquet has been a featured event at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences since 1984. Extension cotton specialists representing every cotton-producing state select a winner annually based on leadership and industry service.
University of Arizona Associate Dean Jeff Silvertooth noted that the research efforts of Norton, who has served as editor of the state’s Extension’s cotton variety testing guide, have been timely and had a lasting effect on the cotton producers in his area.
Norton is currently the director of the Safford Agricultural Center, which provides research and service to Arizona farmers in Graham, Greenlee and Cochise counties.
In his current position, he provides educational assistance aimed at increasing the effectiveness, competitiveness and profitability of farmers. In addition to agronomy, Norton’s areas of expertise include applied research, horticulture, livestock and natural resources.
Norton has been with the University of Arizona’s Extension program since 2001. He started as an Assistant Agriculture Agent and then became an Area Associate Agent.
Norton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in plant science in 1993, followed by a master’s degree in soil science in 1996 and a Ph.D. in soil chemistry and soil fertility in 2000, all from the University of Arizona.
He is also a current member of the National Cotton Council of America’s Program Committee.
Stoneville Offers Two New Varieties
Bayer CropScience has introduced two new Stoneville cotton varieties for 2013 that give cotton producers additional tools to fight weed resistance and rotate herbicide chemistries on their farms.
ST 4946GLB2 and ST 6448GLB2 are the first Stoneville varieties to offer multiple herbicide tolerance with GlyTol and LibertyLink traits for full crop safety to glyphosate and Liberty herbicides when used as directed. These varieties also have a two-gene Bt trait to
protect against yield-robbing lepidopteran pests.
ST 4946GLB2 is an early-medium maturing GlyTol LibertyLink Bollgard variety with exceptional yield potential, according to company officials. It provides herbicide flexibility and crop safety to full labeled rates of Liberty herbicide and glyphosate.
It is broadly adapted across all cotton-growing regions.
ST 6448GLB2 is a full-season maturity, GlyTol LibertyLink Bollgard II variety that provides crop safety to full labeled rates of Liberty and glyphosate. It is adapted for the South Delta and South-east cotton-growing areas.
The announcement of these two new varieties was made at a media briefing at the Beltwide.
Tim White – 2012 CCOY Winner
Tim White of Jonesville, La., was honored as the 2012 Cotton Consultant of the Year (CCOY) at a special reception and dinner at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio, Texas.
He and his wife Christie, along with family and friends, were guests at The Vault restaurant. The CCOY award is co-sponsored by Syngenta and Cotton Farming magazine.
Syngenta officials and Cotton Farming publisher Lia Guthrie presented the traditional Syngenta green jacket and commemorative plaque to White.
Former CCOY winners Ray Young, Roger Carter and others delivered personal goodwill remarks at the award ceremony.
“It’s easily the highlight of my career,” says Tim. “I owe so much to so many people. Roger (Carter) took a chance, and I can never repay him for what he did for me. I have just been blessed to have learned so much from folks like Grady Coburn, Roger, Harold Lambert and Mr. Ray Young. I will cherish this award for the rest of my life.”