The Beltwide Cotton Conferences (BWCC) Steering Committee, chaired by Mississippi producer/ginner Kenneth Hood, recently discussed topics for consideration at the 2013 BWCC, set for Jan. 7-10 at the Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk hotels in San Antonio, Texas.

Information on the conferences is at www.cotton.org/beltwide. On Sept. 14, the site also will include instructions for early housing, which will begin that day as a special benefit for NCC and Cotton Foundation members only.

Key agronomic, pest management, economic and policy reports are being planned for the Cotton Production Conference.

Among key issues being considered are weed resistance prevention/management, managing energy-related expenses, including those associated with fertility and irrigation practices; the growing importance of weather patterns on crop mix/production decisions and of social media for timely information sharing.

“There will be discussions of tools available that can help producers hold down their energy-related expenses,” said Bill Robertson, the NCC’s manager, Agronomy, Soils & Physiology. “For example, there are stabilizers that can help producers enhance fertilizer availability to the plant and many irrigation scheduling programs available at no cost that can help producers increase irrigation efficiency.”

Robertson said the Steering Committee, which is comprised of several producers and producer/ginners from across the Cotton Belt, also discussed the importance of more judicious use of crop inputs, especially with the current high fertilizer and fuel costs. In addition, there was recognition of the significance of conserving natural resources through the use of cover crops, tillage practices and better irrigation scheduling/application.

“Weed resistance, unfortunately, still needs attention as pigweed resistance is now suspected in parts of Texas and possibly in Arizona,” Robertson said. “The management of various insect pests — stink bugs in the Southeast, plant bugs in the Mid-South and fleahoppers in the Southwest — also will be discussed, along with variety selection, new chemistries and cotton marketing.”

Another area the Steering Committee deemed relevant is today’s growing use of social media as a way for timely sharing of information. The use of smart phones, blogs, tweeting and Facebook, for example, is making real time information flow much easier between producers, consultants, Extension, researchers and agribusiness personnel.

In addition to the Cotton Production Conference general session and workshops, the 2013 BWCC will continue to feature the New Developments from Industry session, the Cotton Consultants Conference and 11 cotton technical conferences.