Contact: Kirk Welch, 806-935-6401 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Plans have been approved and are underway for a new cotton production education program presented by North Plains Groundwater Conservation District (NPGCD) and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. According to the proposal prepared by AgriLife Extension, the program will involve the agency’s County Agents, regional Agronomists, Entomologists, and Plant Pathologists in cooperation with NPGCD and the district’s Cotton Program Advisory Committee to provide cotton production education for the producers of the district. The educational program will dovetail with AgriLife Extension’s existing Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluations (RACE) variety trials across NPCGD.
County Extension Agents (CEAs) representing the eight counties that comprise the district will coordinate with Dr. Jourdan Bell, regional AgriLife Extension Agronomist, to provide weekly video programs from six RACE trials across the district. It is anticipated that the Entomologists and Pathologists will be invited to provide timely videos depending on insect and disease pressure. Reporting from RACE trials provides the CEAs and Agronomist the opportunity to evaluate and report on interactions between genetics, environment, and management. Videos will be approximately three to four minutes in duration. Weekly reports are expected to include the following information in addition to location and planting date for a minimum of two entries in the trial being discussed:
- Weekly Plant Growth Stages
- Current Growing Degree Days Accumulated
- Environmental Conditions
- Irrigation Practice and Amount
- Plant Growth Regulator Timing
- Plant Disease Identification and Management Tips
- Insect Identification and Management Tips
- Irrigation Termination
- Harvest Aid Management
Rotating videos between trials will provide district cotton producers real-time variety comparisons under the respective environmental and management systems. Videos will occur every three weeks from each field (two fields per week). On-site weather data for each location, along with calculated growing degree days (GDDs) will be displayed on the district’s website at www.northplainsgcd.org. Because there are uncertainties about GDD accumulation with development of newer cotton varieties in northern production regions, weekly evaluation of the current growth stage and the respective GDD for each field will provide a solid dataset to evaluate the historical GDD model and create a data base to ground-truth a revised GDD model being supported by Cotton Incorporated.
In addition to the weekly video reports, data will be compiled and presented at regional Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Programs in Dalhart, Dumas, Spearman, and Perryton. An end of year report will be provided to supplement the RACE trial variety report. The RACE trial report includes cotton production, quality, and loan values for the evaluated varieties. The report for the district will emphasize irrigation practices with a focus on the crop’s water use over the season and water-use efficiencies of the two varieties being evaluated. This data will be used to assess current cotton irrigation practices in order to provide recommendations for irrigation strategies to cotton producers within NPGCD in order to minimize groundwater withdrawals.