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Elevating Efficiency In 2018

The Beltwide Cotton Conferences (BWCC), set for Jan. 3-5 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas, will provide insight into current research and emerging technology to help attendees improve production, processing and marketing efficiency.

The BWCC, coordinated by the National Cotton Council (NCC), brings together university and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers, Extension personnel/agents, consultants and industry sales/support personnel.

Go to www.cotton.org/beltwide/ for more details, including registration and housing reservations. The site also includes a link to BWCC proceedings from 2005-2017.

Cotton Consultants Conference
The 2018 BWCC will begin at noon Jan. 3 with the half-day Cotton Consultants Conference — open to all attendees.

Among scheduled topics selected by the consultant community are looking ahead to Bollgard III and WideStrike 3, a review of year one of dicamba use, thrips control, bacterial blight, nematodes, cotton root rot and fungicide seed treatments. Also included will be a regulatory update, contamination prevention and presentations on growing cotton economically.

Louisiana cotton consultant Hank Jones, chairman of the Beltwide Cotton Consultant Committee, says, “Our meeting is not research oriented. It will present topics consultants deal with every day on the ground. The goal is to educate everyone, so when we are faced with these issues, we will know how to manage them.

“The consultants committee put a lot of hard work into this program, and I encourage my colleagues from all areas of the Cotton Belt to consider attending. I think it’s money well spent.”

Unmanned Aircraft Systems
The 2018 Beltwide also will feature a special workshop, “Risk & Reward: Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Agricultural Producers.” Dr. James Robbins, the workshop coordinator and an Extension specialist at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, says agriculture is expected to use 80 percent of commercial UAS systems.

Robbins, who also is a workshop presenter, says the goal is for participants to improve understanding of flight regulations, types of platforms and sensors, data processing, potential agricultural uses and liability issues related to UAS. The workshop also will provide information to help attendees improve decision making to match the best UAS with their needs.

Insect Research And Control
The BWCC Cotton Technical Conferences, which will provide updates on research and the technology pipeline, will meet concurrently beginning on the morning of Jan. 4 and conclude at noon, Jan. 5.
Jeff Gore, associate professor, Mississippi State University, is chairman of the Cotton Research and Control Conference.

“Some of the key topics include thrips management on seedling cotton and tarnished plant bug management from several regions of the United States,” Gore says. “One of the hot topics will be how to manage resistant bollworms in Bt cotton and the role of the next generation of Bt cottons that contain the Vip gene.”

He says the graduate student competition is the highlight of this conference. Additionally, the Cotton IPM Award will be presented to an outstanding research or Extension specialist from across the country at the annual business meeting on Thursday evening.

More Technical Updates
The Ginning Conference includes several presentations critical to cotton quality and efficient processing. Updates regarding ongoing ginning research, new equipment, and lint contamination research/prevention will be featured. Results of the 2016 Gin Cost Survey also will be presented. Beginning on the afternoon of Jan. 3, the National Cotton Ginners Association will hold several committee and subcommittee meetings. A schedule of those is at www.cotton.org/ncga/index.cfm.

A new type of agenda is planned for the Cotton Improvement Conference where poster presentation authors will give five-minute lightning talks. They plan to provide the main points of their research to stimulate more discussion later at the poster session.

Registration costs for the 2018 BWCC before Dec. 15 are $200 for NCC/Cotton Foundation members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, associations and consultants; $400 for non-NCC/Foundation members; and $80 for students.

On-site conference self-registration kiosks will be available 24 hours a day beginning on the evening of Jan. 2. NCC staff will be available Jan. 3 for attendees needing assistance with registration and name badge printing.

The NCC contributed information for this article.