Southeast producers are looking at cotton operations in the Mid-South this week as part of the National Cotton Council’s Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) program.

Sponsored by Bayer CropScience through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the P.I.E. program is now in its 22nd year of helping its U.S. cotton producer participants improve yields and fiber quality. Specifically, the program helps producers improve their overall farming operation efficiency by: 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting and 2) observing firsthand the unique ways in which their peers are using new and existing technology.

The Southeast cotton producers began their tour on July 19 in Clarksdale, Miss., at Crop Production Services, Inc., where they heard presentations from Bayer’s Macon LaFoe and from Angus Catchot, an Extension entomologist with Mississippi State University. The group also toured individual farms in the Coahoma County area.

Today’s itinerary at Crop Production Services includes an overview of Delta cotton production and of the Delta Council from Chip Morgan, that organization’s executive vice-president; a presentation on Staplcotn Cooperative; and a visit to the Stoneville breeding facility at the Agricenter in Cordova, Tenn.

On July 21, the participants will visit Bayer’s test facility on the Sam Stuckey farm in Clarkedale, Ark., before touring the farm of NCC vice-chairman Charles Parker in Senath, Mo., for a look at test plots, irrigation, and a discussion of round module picker technology. That day’s events will conclude in Senath with a tour of Farmer’s Union gin and a discussion of the modifications and economics of round module ginning.

The group will conclude their tour on July 22 with a visit to the No-Till Field Day in Milan, Tenn.

The Southeast producer participants include: from Florida — Shannon Nixon, Baker; from Georgia — Carl Dixon II, Alapaha; Al Mathis, Arlington, and Jon Thompson, Norman Park; from North Carolina — Sam Fulton, Laurinburg, and Mark Lassiter, Conway; and from Virginia — Lucas Braswell, Windsor, Mike Ellis, Suffolk, and Cliff Fox, Capron.

In the other three P.I.E. tours this season, Southwestern producers will visit California on July 25-30; Mid-South producers will travel to North Carolina and Virginia on Aug. 8-13; and Far Western producers will tour Texas on Aug. 22-27.

Upon completion of this year’s four tours, the P.I.E. program will have exposed nearly 900 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own.