The 2018 Beltwide Cotton Conferences (BWCC), set for January 3-5 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas, will provide insight on current research and emerging technology – to help attendees improve production, processing and marketing efficiency.
The BWCC, coordinated by the National Cotton Council (NCC), annually brings together university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel/agents, consultants, and industry sales/support personnel.
Information on the 2018 BWCC, including registration and housing reservation instructions, is at www.cotton.org/beltwide/. The site also includes a link to BWCC proceedings from 2005-2017.
The 2018 BWCC will begin at noon on January 3 with the half-day Cotton Consultants Conference – open to all attendees. Among scheduled topics selected by the consultant, community are: looking ahead to Bollgard III use, a review of year one of Dicamba use, thrips control, bacterial blight, nematodes, cotton root rot and fungicide seed treatments. Also included will be a regulatory update and presentations on growing cotton economically and on contamination prevention.
2018 Beltwide also will feature a special workshop, “Risk & Reward: Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Agricultural Producers.” The session is supported by a grant from the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Center and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Dr. James Robbins, the workshop coordinator and an Extension specialist at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, said 80 percent of commercial UAS systems are expected to be used in agriculture. Because most initial users are uneasy about this emerging technology, he said, “the workshop will focus on risk-based training for both current and future users and include reports on aircraft systems and a workflow demonstration.”
Robbins, who also is one of the workshop presenters, said the aim is for participants to 1) achieve an improved understanding of flight regulations, types of platforms & sensors, data processing, potential agricultural uses, and liability issues related to UAS and 2) be equipped to make improved decisions to match the best UAS with their needs.”
The BWCC cotton technical conferences, which will provide updates on research and a look into the technology pipeline, will meet concurrently beginning on the morning of January 4 and conclude by noon on January 5.
The Ginning Conference, for example, will include several presentations critical to cotton quality and efficient processing. Included will be updates regarding ongoing ginning research, new equipment, and lint contamination research/prevention. Results of the 2016 Gin Cost Survey also will be presented. Beginning on the afternoon of January 3, the National Cotton Ginners Association will hold several committee and subcommittee meetings. A schedule of those meetings is at www.cotton.org/ncga/index.cfm.
A new type of presentation will be offered at one of the BWCC technical conferences. The Cotton Improvement Conference will feature five-minute lightning talks from poster presentation authors. The intent is for those authors to provide the main points of their research for the purpose of stimulating more discussion later at the poster session.
Registration costs for the 2018 BWCC before December 15 are $200 for NCC/Cotton Foundation members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, associations and consultants; $400 for non-NCC/Foundation members; and $80 for students. On-site conference self-registration kiosks will be available 24 hours a day beginning on the evening of January 2. Beginning on the morning of January 3, NCC staff will be available for attendees needing assistance with registration and name badge printing.