Fifteen-inch cotton received a lot of focus from growers this season. Separate tests in South Carolina and North Carolina are looking at the practice.

At the Southeast Cotton Conference scheduled for Jan. 27, 2004 at the Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, N.C., growers can hear results of tests in eastern North Carolina during 2003, and see if the practice may be something worth looking at for the future.

Growers and county agents are working with the John Deere Company on comparing the 15-inch row spindle-picked cotton to conventional row widths.

Research in other parts of the Cotton Belt has shown the cotton matures earlier, as well as having other benefits.

In addition to 15-inch cotton, speakers at the annual Southeast Cotton Conference will address such topics and the changing dynamic of growing for an export market, mill closings and the impact of trade agreements on the cotton industry.

The annual conference has become a top forum for growers and industry professionals in the Virginia-Carolina region of the Cotton Belt to get up-to-date information on varieties, cultural practices and issues facing the cotton industry.

Last year, the annual Southeast Farm Press-sponsored conference changed locations to an enthusiastic response.

The conference again returns to the spacious facilities of the Business and Industry Center on the campus of the Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, N.C. Separate exhibitor and speaker areas give growers ample opportunity to interact with speakers during the conference.

Breakfast and lunch are included in the price of the conference. Admission is $20 at the door, $10 in advance.

Application is being made for Certified Crop Advisor CEUS and pesticide credits with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Experts with the Cooperative Extension Services at Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University and Clemson University will speak on cultural practices, varieties, and insect and weed control.

With so much focus these days on fiber quality, growers will want to hear about what's coming in the way of new varieties for 2004. Seed companies and technology companies will be on hand to answer questions.

Organizers of the conference are also working toward bringing together a panel of growers to share ideas about the 2003 crop and what they'll be doing for 2004.

The Carolinas Cotton Growers Cooperative will give away a bale of cotton by drawing during the conference. Traditionally, the cooperative has bought back the bale from the winner. Door prizes will be given away during the conference.

For more information, contact Cecil Yancy at 910-9383061.