Cottonseed Quality / Cotton Economics Hot Topics AtSW Crops Production Conference

Friday, February 20, 2004                          By Shawn Wade

      One of the highlights of the6th Annual Southwest Crops Production Conference & Expo,February 19, was a presentation from Dr. Norm Hopper of Texas Tech Universitywho discussed the importance of seed quality in establishing a uniform, healthycotton crop.

      Hopper’s presentation touchedon the different factors that affect yield, the characteristics of a good standand what was needed to achieve a good stand in the field. He focused mostly onthe importance of seed quality, as measured in terms of viability and vigor, toachieving optimum results.

      In order to achieve thoseresults Hopper noted that several important decisions needed to be madestarting with the selection of an adapted variety that is suited to the growingregion.

      Hopper then stressed thepoint that seed and technology costs have increased over the past several yearsand that, subsequently, seeding rates have dropped as growers attempt to moreprecisely control input costs.

      In this new plantingenvironment Hopper explained that it was more important than ever for growersto select and plant high quality seed and to properly calibrate plantingequipment to provide uniform seed spacing down the row.

      To obtain high quality seedHopper recommended growers key on two components – viability and vigor.

      Hopper explained that theCool Warm Vigor Index (CWVI) was one of the best possible tools for providing ameasure of the viability and vigor of cotton planting seed.

      The CWVI is a combinationtest that measures the warm and the cool germination ability of planting seed.He explained that after the cool and warm test components are run the resultsare added together and used to estimate the quality of the seed being tested.

      Hopper noted that CWVIresults of 120 or less indicate a poor seed vigor level, that results between120 and 140 are considered fair, that results between 140 and 160 areclassified as good and ratings above 160 are considered excellent.

      Hopper added that a rating of160 or above is extremely hard to achieve, but that growers should strive,whenever possible, to stick with seed rated in the 140 to 160 range to givethem the best chance at establishing a high quality stand of cotton.

AndersonProvides Cotton Market Outlook

At SWCrops Production Conference

      Warningthat the potential exists for a bumpy ride in 2004, Texas A&M ExtensionCotton Economist Dr. Carl Anderson presented his thoughts on the cotton marketto over 200 producers at the Southwest Crops Production Conference & Expo.

      Anderson’smessage was that the current restructuring of the market environment coupledwith a considerable amount of market uncertainty should be a strong signal togrowers to develop marketing and pricing strategies early on to reduce theirexposure to sudden price moves.

      Headded that with worldwide cotton planting expected to increase 10 percent ormore, the possibility that December 2004 futures prices could drop 10 to 15cents from current levels was a very real prospect and would put futures pricesnear the 52 cent government loan rate.

      Henoted that in the short run strong demand, limited supplies, a weaker U.S.dollar, and the usual adverse weather conditions at planting are expected tosupport the market and could result in a five or more cent rally in the nexttwo to three months.

      Andersonencouraged producers to consider putting together a marketing plan early and toalso look into the use of crop revenue coverage (CRC) insurance in 2004 sinceDecember 2004 prices are expected to be higher in the first half of the yearthan the second half.


The Future of Biotech in Texas Conference - February 24 in Lubbock

Friday, February 20, 2004                          By Shawn Wade

      TheTexas Ag Industries Association, Texas Farm Bureau’s Texas AgricultureMagazine, the Texas Seed Trade Association and the Council for BiotechnologyInformation have put together “The Future of Biotech in Texas Conference” to beheld Tuesday, February 24 at the Holiday Inn- Park Plaza Hotel, 3201 South Loop289 in Lubbock.

      TheConference will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m. Opening comments will bepresented at 8:30 a.m. Registration for the event is $60 for TAIA members, $90for non-members and $60 for government employees.

      TheConference will be led by Representative Rick Hardcastle, of Vernon, and willfeature Linda Thrane, from the Council for Biotechnology Information. Ms.Thrane will present a discussion on the history and economics of biotechnology.

      Alsoon the program are Steve Verett, executive vice president of Plains CottonGrowers, Dr. Kater Hake from Delta & Pine Land Company, Dr. Anna McClung ofTexas A&M University and Ms. Mary Lee Chin from the Council forBiotechnology Information.

      Everyonein agriculture is encouraged to attend and learn about the history and futureof biotechnology in production agriculture and what it could mean to Texas inthe future.