Eradication Efforts Split In Delta

A boll weevil eradication referendum in the Mississippi Delta earned a split decision in the two regions where it was up for a vote.

Both regions originally declared the referendum passed, but a recount declared Region 1A, consisting of Leflore, Quitman, Sunflower, Tunica and western Tallahatchie counties, less than 1% short of a passing vote. Region 1B — Bolivar, Coahoma and Washington counties — passed the program with 68.85% of the vote.

A vote of ⅔ majority is required for passage. Of the two regions, 34 ballots out of 1,643 were ruled invalid, which reduced the percentage needed to pass the referendum in 1A to 65.95% — below the acceptable level required for passage of 66.667%.

Growers were voting for the second time this year on annual assessments of not more than $12/acre. John Swayze, president of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation board, said program managers expect actual assessments to be $8-10/acre for the next couple of years and then drop to $6-8/acre.

Both times the referendum has been considered it has had a majority vote, but not the ⅔ required for passage.

CCI Gets $3.6 Million

USDA announced allocation of its FY2003-04 Foreign Market Development funds with Cotton Council International receiving $3.36 million, an increase of 10% from the previous year.

The funds, available October 1, will be directed to market development activities in priority markets for U.S. cotton fiber, including China, South Asia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico. Funds also will be used to support U.S.-manufactured cotton product promotion in the Caribbean Basin and Andean regions.

New Transgenic Cotton

Syngenta touts its new VipCot transgenic cotton as the way to control worms in cotton.

VipCot employs vegetative insecticidal protein (Vip) discovered by Syngenta in 1994. Although Vip is derived from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Vip is structurally and functionally different from current available traits, according to Syngenta.

Syngenta research indicates that Vip is expressed throughout the entire plant and provides complete plant protection from cotton bollworm, American bollworm, native bollworm, tobacco budworm, pink bollworm, beet armyworm, fall armyworm, cabbage looper and soybean looper.

Seed-Count Packaging For Cotton

Delta and Pine Land Company (D&PL) will introduce seed-count packaging in 2004. Most of its Upland cotton varieties will be in bags containing 250,000 seeds with the exception of Pima and Acala varieties, which will continue to be packaged in 50-lb. bags.

“The change to seed-count packaging was a customer-driven decision that will result in more equitable pricing to producers, dealers and distributors,” says Jim Willeke, vice president of sales and marketing for D&PL.

Seed-count packaging is intended to help standardize technology fees and make inventory management more precise, according to D&PL.

Online Payment Calculator Available

A Web-based government payment calculator is available at www.afpc.tamu.edu.

The calculator is offered by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University, in cooperation with Cotton, Inc.

Currently, the 2002 Farm Bill provides eligible producers with direct and counter-cyclical payments based on producers' data. It also estimates monthly payments for cotton, feed grains and food grains. The direct payment is paid in two installments and counter-cyclical payments are paid in three installments. Depending on the crops grown, producers could receive payments in five or six different months.

The calculator projects the payments based on producers' data. Through a series of Web pages, producers can enter their base acres and payment yields for each crop on each farm unit. The calculator uses their data to estimate annual and monthly direct and counter-cyclical prices for 2003-2007. Three different types of reports can be requested and printed, providing a gross summary or detailed reports by farm unit and crop.