Paul Pilsner, crop consultant, San Benito, Texas, says picking up information on weed control will be a high priority for him at the 2009 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio.

“I’m an entomologist by training,” Pilsner said, “but I spend half my time trying to kill weeds. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t, especially in dryland cotton. Only about 5 percent of my clients have irrigation.”

He said most of his farmers use Roundup Ready varieties. “Widestrike also has been good for us.”

He’ll also look for presentations on alternative fertilization practices. “It’s been a tough time for cotton farmers. They face a real squeeze with prices and production costs. We need a better price.”

He’s afraid that if cotton markets don’t improve, acreage will fall. He’s hoping to hear some good news at Beltwide.

“I’ll be looking for ways to help cotton farmers stay in business. I’ll try to find a way to make money growing cotton.”

He said he’d spend time talking with a lot of people he’s met at other Beltwide Cotton Conferences over the years to see “if what we’re doing is a good idea or not. I’ll explore ideas with some other folks. I always try to learn as much as I can.”

Selecting the best seminar might be a problem. “There’s always something going on and I don’t want to miss anything. I have to look carefully at the program to get as much as I can.”

Ginner Sid Brough, from Victoria, Texas, said the ginning education meeting is always informative and helpful. “Other segments of the industry also benefit. We always see a big presence from agronomy, entomology and marketing. Those (presentations) are also beneficial to me. We need to see more producers at Beltwide. I always get good information from meetings and poster presentations.”

Brough said contacts he makes are crucial. “There are a lot of people who come to Beltwide. I make a lot of contacts. One-on-one conversations in the hallways are also informative. I like to find out what other people are doing. Some have faced problems we are just now encountering.”

He said more folks ought to go. “It’s not that expensive.”

The 2009 Beltwide Cotton Conferences will be held Jan. 5-8 at the Marriott Rivercenter/Riverwalk in San Antonio. For more information visit www.cotton.org/beltwide.