Hope For The Future

carroll smith
Carroll Smith,

As we prepare to close the book on a year that has challenged every fiber of our being, we look forward to starting a new chapter full of hope. Perusing the pages of this issue of Cotton Farming will confirm there really is hope for the future.

In the cover story on page 12, researchers at Texas Tech and Texas A&M are working to improve the understanding of how cotton absorbs nutrients. They are exploring the potential for optimizing application timing and plant growth.

Katie Lewis, an associate professor of soil chemistry and fertility in Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science with a joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife Research, wants to update the literature because of the potential effect it could have on the cotton industry in general and farmers specifically.

“The application of fertilizers based on updated recommendation rates and timings that match the crop’s nutrient demand across the growing season, can improve yield output as well as nutrient use and cost efficiencies,” says Texas Tech graduate student Irish Lorraine Pabuayon.

The Texas researchers say this could potentially be “a major breakthrough for the cotton farming industry, allowing farmers to produce higher yields with less or more targeted treatments, thus reducing costs.”

Recognizing young farmers who are passionate about agriculture and dedicated to serving the industry also gives us hope for the future. Two cotton couples are among the finalists for the Texas Farm Bureau’s 2020 Outstanding Young Farmers & Ranchers Award.

Slayton and Abby Hoelscher are implementing minimal and no-till practices on their farms to enhance microbial activity and reduce soil erosion. Alton and Adriennne Synatschk are active in Texas Farm Bureau and Lamb County Farm Bureau. Read more about these enthusiastic young farmers on page 14.

As the 2021 Beltwide Cotton Conferences approaches, be sure to register for the convenient, live-stream event to take advantage of the wealth of information that will be available. A new addition to the program is the Sustainability Conference. Lori Duncan, the conference chair, says, “The new conference is designed to explore the cotton supply chain from the farm level to having cotton products on the shelves.” A robust program is on tap all three days of this conference, so don’t miss it.

In California, cotton farmers and industry leaders say the “market may be stabilizing amid trade challenges, water shortages and market conditions unsettled by the COVID-19 pandemic.” For more details, see the article on page 24.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

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