2022 Cotton Consultants’ Conference

Meeting Offers A Diverse Lineup Of Pest Management And Production-Related Topics

• By Carroll Smith,
Editor •

beltwide cotton conferences artSan Antonio, Texas, is the destination city for the Beltwide Cotton Conferences Jan. 4-6, 2022. The Cotton Consultants’ Conference will be held Tuesday, Jan. 4, noon-6 p.m., for all registered attendees.

The consultants’ meeting will provide technical pest management and production-related updates from industry experts. Some of the topics include:

• New varieties.

• Herbicide resistance.

• U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

• Cotton maturities and management across the Belt.

• PGR research with racehorse varieties.

• Where do we go after Bt?

• Farm labor shortages.

• Pathology.

Here is a sneak peek of what to expect during the half-day conference.

Plant Growth Regulators

Jay Mahaffey, manager at Bayer’s Scott Learning Center, will discuss tools to manage cotton growth. He says varieties are “better energy factories than they used to be.”

The variety evolution over the past 25 years has resulted in increased turnout, fruit retention and retained/harvested fruit due to shifts in their ability to hold and support more fruit.

“This comes with a cost in management,” Mahaffey says. “It puts an emphasis on variety placement, seeding population and appropriate mepiquat chloride (plant growth regulator) use.

“Only by understanding the growth habit of varieties can we deploy those tools appropriately, along with scouting and management, to help produce the best crop possible. It’s a system we are learning more about every season.

“The primary subject of my talk will be ‘What is the risk associated with managing a variety that has a reasonably well understood growth habit?’

“It will be a general conversation only using Deltapine varieties as an example but is not intended to be a commercial.

“I also will review an analysis of 11 years of plant growth regulator data collected from a consistent protocol conducted at the Learning Center. Last winter, I suddenly realized we had a unique data set that could illuminate some of these subjects.”

CLRDV Update

Another topic of interest that will be addressed at the Cotton Consultants’ Conference is cotton leafroll dwarf virus. The disease was first reported in Alabama in 2017 and has since infected cotton in several other Southern states.

Information sharing among experts has been important to help accurately identify symptoms and determine what level of yield reduction the disease can cause. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the potential threat to U.S. cotton, but every year the knowledge base grows.

During the consultants’ conference, speakers will discuss how understanding the genetic diversity of viruses and other pathogens may help in developing management strategies for CLRDV.

Alabama cotton specialist Steve M. Brown will make comments about the distribution of CLRDV across the Cotton Belt, effect on yields and ongoing research.

“There is an effort to observe and quantify CLRDV,” he says. “Scientists across the Cotton Belt — Texas and east — have participated in a sentinel plot program. Several entomologists have explored the possibility of affecting infection by aphid management.”

This portion of the Cotton Consultants’ Conference provides a good opportunity to get caught up on the latest information about CLRDV going into the 2022 growing season.
To learn more, visit www.cotton.org/beltwide/. The website includes the preliminary program and CEU information.

Plan now to attend this long-standing cotton meeting that provides education, networking and entertainment.

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