A Cotton Incorporated internet grower survey conducted from April 1 through June 3, 2011, has identified key issues that will help guide the organization’s agricultural research program.

Key findings of the survey show that farmers across the Cotton Belt consider water, pest control and input costs to be major concerns. Each of the four regions — Southeast, Mid-South, Southwest and Far West — cited water and pest control in the top three “top-of-mind concerns.”

In the Southwest, not surprisingly, water took the top spot, followed by pest control, market and input costs, and weather. Pest control took the top spot in the Southeast, followed by water, markets, inputs costs and weather. Mid-South growers also cited pest control as their No. 1 top-of-mind concern, with markets, water, input costs and weather following.

In the Far West, pest control again claimed top billing with water and markets in second place and input costs and weather following.

The survey was conducted at the request of the Cotton Incorporated board of directors to provide guidance to the agricultural research programs. Objectives included:

• Ensure the guidance that the grower leadership provides parallels the broader set of grower input;

• Make minor adjustments to agricultural research already underway;

• Assist in making major adjustments in future agricultural research, and;

• Help prioritize new resources.

Approximately 10 percent of U.S. cotton acreage was represented in the survey.

Kater Hake, Cotton Incorporated vice-president for agricultural research, said the top five issues across the board, in order, included: cotton input costs, herbicide resistant weeds, variety selection, cotton’s tolerance to heat and drought and early weed control.