With USDA projecting 9% more U.S. cotton acres this season, the National Cotton Council is working to ensure affordable and effective inputs/resources are available while solidifying U.S. cotton’s reputation.
What about crop input availability?
The NCC monitors rulemaking and other activities affecting a wide range of crop inputs from fertilizer to plant protection products and harvest aids. A recent example saw the NCC seek a label amendment that resulted in EPA lifting county-level bans on the use of Enlist/Enlist Duo in 134 counties across multiple states.
The NCC recently joined with other Agriculture Transportation Working Group (ATWG) members on a letter to President Biden emphasizing that a worker strike affecting the Canadian Pacific Railway — and the continued cross-border vaccine mandate for workers moving essential goods — would severely curtail fertilizer supply/shipments into the United States. Another ATWG letter to the President sought Administration action to secure favorable West Coast port contract labor negotiations and prevent a catastrophe to the agriculture economy. We also urged Cotton Belt Senators and Representatives to sign multiple letters to the International Trade Commission and to President Biden requesting fertilizer supply/cost remedies. Since January 2021, based on USDA data, anhydrous ammonia cost was up 203%, urea up 141%, liquid nitrogen up 162%, potash up 125%, phosphate up 74%, along with off-road diesel fuel up 95%.
Are there beneficial resources available?
The NCC has diligently encouraged producers to access resources that would improve their efficiency. For example, in our Cotton’s Week newsletter, we advocated treated seed stewardship as noted in the NCC-supported “The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship” at https://seed-treat
ment-guide.com. Another recent newsletter article urged those involved with applying approved dicamba formulations to access 2022 crop season instruction through Bayer’s free, self-paced online tool or a guided live webinar at www.RoundupReadyXtend.com/Stewardship.
Through its newsletter, the NCC continues to persuade producers to enroll in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® where they can formally document these and other stewardship practices. To assist with enrollment of the 2022 crop in this voluntary sustainability initiative, producers now can authorize account access for their crop consultant who can enter information on their behalf at www.TrustUSCotton.org. Also, if producers utilize the John Deere Operations Center, they can pre-populate up to 40% of the data needed to complete their Fieldprint analysis through the platform. Strong producer participation in this sustainability initiative will result in manufacturers, major brands and retailers accepting that U.S. cotton is responsibly produced.
In another move to bolster U.S. cotton’s reputation, the NCC is strongly recommending use of a new voluntary round module wrap standard developed by industry in conjunction with USDA and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. The plan is to include wrap products that demonstrate compliance with the standard in a NCC-maintained list of “Approved Wrap Products.” Research has proven that if round modules are delivered to gins in good condition (no tears, punctures, loose material or adhesive failures), then the likelihood of plastic entering the gin, and ultimately the bale, is greatly reduced. This and other resources aimed at helping industry members prevent contamination from module wrap and other plastics are on the NCC website at www.cotton.org/tech/quality/contamfree.cfm.