Knowing what to plant in any given year is as big a challenge as knowing when to plant, and South Texas cotton and grain producers say knowing what crop varieties are best for local conditions is a major aid in making the right decision for the new farming year.
On Thursday, Jan. 16, the Cotton and Grain Producers of the Lower Rio Grande Valley join forces with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to present the 20th Annual RGV Cotton & Grain Pre-plant Conference, a gathering of producers, Extension specialists and industry representatives to discuss the latest technology, products and strategies for the new planting season.
The conference will provide information designed to help farmers grow more product and save more dollars with efficient production and new technologies. An impressive lineup of speakers will address the crowd and share important information specific to crops for the 2014 growing season with emphasis on the latest varieties best suited to South Texas soils and conditions.
Dr. Enrique Perez, County Extension Agent-Ag in Cameron County, reports speakers will talk on a range of topics including the progress and remaining challenges of the RGV Boll Weevil Eradication Program. Larry Smith, Program Director for the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation in Abilene will present the topic. In addition, National Cotton Council IPM Coordinator Dr. Don Parker will discuss a Beltwide program to assist Valley growers with a coordinated eradication effort.
Perez says other topics and speakers will include Extension agronomist Dr. Gaylon Morgan talking about the best cotton varieties for the Valley in 2014 and Extension economist Dr. John Robinson will offer the latest outlook for the cotton market for 2014.
Dr. Mark Welch, Extension economist for grain marketing will be talking about the market outlook for grains in 2014 and Dr. Greta Schuster, Extension plant pathologist from Kingsville will discuss chemical termination of cotton.
During a break for lunch an annual membership meeting of the Cotton and Grain Producers of the LRGV will be staged. Lunch and meeting expenses are sponsored and provided by Allied Industry Partners.
Following the lunch break, producers will hear from Dr. Raul Villanueva, Extension entomologist from Weslaco and Danielle Sekula, Extension IPM agent also from Weslaco. The two will provide updates and a report on the potential for a new threat from a sugarcane/sorghum aphid that is predicted to create challenges for many Texas growers. The aphids were detected across broad areas of Coastal Texas last year and the potential for their return in 2014 is high. Treatment options will be offered and detection methods and strategies discussed.
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Ashley Gregory, Extension assistant in Weslaco, will address producers on progress and availability of the ongoing soil testing campaign in the Valley and the benefits of performing field sampling early.
Rounding out the afternoon session will be representatives from industry who will talk about new developments and technologies available in 2014 and an advanced look at new products that will be coming in the near future.
The conference will take place at the expanded Sam Sparks Auditorium at Rio Farms in Monte Alto, 25601 Farm-to-Market Road 88, about 10 miles north of U.S. 83 in Weslaco. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and ends around 3:30 p.m.
Conference officials say recent and substantial rains have given producers hope for a good cotton and grain crop this year as soil moisture is currently good across much of South Texas.