The Cotton Research and Promotion Program continues to support Western cotton growers with research programs specifically tailored to the region through Cotton Incorporated’s State Support Program. This program allows regional cotton organizations to have direct input into the funding of projects within each state.
While Cotton Incorporated is already on the ground throughout the Cotton Belt with an understanding of regional priorities, the SSP ensures that 7.5 percent of the proceeds the Cotton Research and Promotion Program receives from producers is directed to areas they feel need special emphasis.
In New Mexico, that has included putting support dollars behind the development of an extruded shrimp meal using glandless cottonseed. New Mexico State University’s glandless cotton breeding program has been supported by SSP funds in the past and is still a big part of a larger program to increase demand for cottonseed as a food source. The initial project has grown into the development of the New Mexico Shrimp Co., a commercial shrimp-growing operation in Mesquite, N.M. The state’s cotton producers have established this project as the No. 1 priority and dedicated all SSP funding to this project for the 2016 program year.
Variety Tests/Insect Pest Management
Throughout the Cotton Belt, SSP funds support variety tests. In Cali-fornia, that includes the testing of Acala varieties in addition to traditional upland varieties. At one time, California had a one-variety rule to maintain its high-quality reputation – Acala was that one variety. The funding of variety tests for longer staple upland cotton helps ensure producers know the best options for that variety. In Arizona, the SSP funds help toward several advance strains testing throughout the state.
Some of Arizona’s SSP funding also goes into sustaining the successful whitefly program. With potential resistance issues noted by several researchers, continued analysis of the systems available for control are essential to keeping the potential volatility of the whitefly under control.
Two other projects in Arizona include the field-scale study of lygus bugs and improving insect management strategies in Arizona cotton. With the success of pink bollworm eradication in the West, producers want to ensure that the pinky is kept in check and that any new threats are controlled at a high level.
California is using SSP funds to ensure Integrated Pest Management advisers have the tools to manage pests and their controls. The state is developing a database of labeled pest control formulations, evaluating and recording formulations, devising the optimal way to use the products and examining factors influencing pest control with those tools.
Increase Producer Profitability
In all cotton-producing regions, weed control is a real issue. In Arizona and California, efforts in other regions are compared and monitored to find the best use of weed control chemistry for the area. And, SSP funding is being used to study the efficacy of the herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba before widespread use is initiated. Other SSP funding in the West is dedicated to weather and heat stress studies, management of Texas root rot and continued work to manage aflatoxin content in cottonseed.
State support funding is roughly one third of the total 2016 budget for Cotton Incorporated’s Agricultural and Environmental Research Department. The core AERD budget is dedicated to helping increase producer profitability and takes into consideration programs across the Cotton Belt. Part of Cotton Incorporated’s role is to make sure that research programs in all regions are not redundant and can be shared throughout the Cotton Belt.
Brent Murphree is the Cotton Board’s Regional Communications Manager for the West. Contact him via email at email@example.com.