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Farmers, Researchers Interact In The Lone Star State

BY SHELLEY HEINRICH SLATON, TEXAS

By Shelley Heinrich
Slaton, Texas

Cotton Incorporated’s Agricultural and Environmental Research Department invests in regional research programs across the Cotton Belt. The AERD team regularly visits growers in the field and attends regional meetings to identify specific research needs within a production area.

Cotton Incorporated often partners with public sector programs, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, state Extension programs and university programs to leverage Cotton Research and Promotions program research dollars. These partnerships serve cotton producers with more robust information and may lead to increased producer profitability.

Presentations And Feedback

The Cotton Board recently hosted an all-day meeting in Lubbock, Texas, to bring together cotton producers and the researchers using their Cotton Research and Promotion Program dollars. About 65 attendees from the Texas South Plains gathered at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center for the West Texas Cotton Research Update Meeting.

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One of the goals was to update area producers on regional research projects being funded by Cotton Research and Promotion dollars. In addition, researchers had the opportunity to understand more about producer challenges and concerns.

Thirteen regional researchers representing programs from the USDA-ARS Plant Stress Lab, USDA-ARS Gin Lab, Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Research Center gave research presentations about their projects. Producers provided feedback and discussed the subjects of the presentations, which ranged from plant genetics to plastic contamination.

“The willingness of the area researchers to engage with producers provided a unique setting and was essential to the meeting’s success” says Dr. Kater Hake, vice president of the Agricultural & Environmental Research Department for Cotton Incorporated.

Program Highlights

West Texas Cotton Research UpdateResearch presentations on Cotton Incorporated-funded programs included Fusarium wilt race, weed science, genetics, agronomic practices, gin contamination, cotton innovations and product development. Producers asked questions specific to their needs regarding irrigation, weed control, seed genetics and soil health.

FOV4 is a top concern for the region’s producers as they are close to the El Paso cotton-growing region where it was first found in Texas. Dr. Tom Isakeit, professor and Extension specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife, discussed the progression of the research and the work being done to find Upland cotton genetics resistant to the disease.

Weed science and genetics also were discussed. Dr. Wayne Keeling, project leader for Cropping Systems/Weed Science at Texas AgriLife Research, talked about modes of actions for existing herbicide products.

Dr. Jane Dever, Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor and cotton breeder, spoke about genetic improvements on the horizon for root-knot nematode resistant varieties as well as other soil borne diseases.

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The group also toured the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute at Texas Tech University directed by Drs. Eric Hequet, Noureddine Abidi and Brendan Kelly.

Lubbock, Texas, cotton producer Julie Holladay says, “The West Texas Research Update offered a great opportunity for producers in our region to meet researchers from different sectors and discuss their projects that we all fund though the Cotton Research and Promotion Program.

“It’s easy to stay in our own tracks and not share our perspectives with each other, especially when it comes to research that exists beyond seed and production methods.”

This was the first regional research update meeting of its kind hosted by The Cotton Board.

Participants left with new information and a better understanding of how Cotton Research and Promotion dollars are being used for the profitability of their own farming operations.

Shelley Heinrich, sheinrich@cottonboard.org, is the Cotton Board Southern Plains regional communication manager.