Cotton LEADS

2015 U.S. Cotton Breeders’ Tour Delivers Improved Varieties for Growers
September 27, 2015

The 2015 U.S. Cotton Breeders’ Tour (CBT) was held September 13 – 18 and drew 135 scientists and seedsmen from six countries: the United States, Australia, Brazil, China, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. The objective of the week-long event was to foster communication among scientists and deliver improved varieties for cotton growers.

Attendees began the tour Sunday afternoon in a classroom setting learning from Drs. Andy Paterson, Candace Haigler, and James Holland about applying the cotton genome sequence to breeding, fiber development differences between upland and pima cottons, and genomic selection options for cotton breeders, respectively. On Monday morning Berrye Worsham, CEO, spoke to the scientists about the mission and role of Cotton Incorporated in the cotton value chain. Mark Messura, Senior Vice-President, then presented on strategic marketing of current and new products. Dr. Kater Hake, Vice-President, highlighted accomplishments developed by scientists supported by the Agricultural Research Department. Tour guests then enjoyed an informative visit to Cotton Incorporated World Headquarters and learned about fiber/yarn measurement and processing, fabric development and design, laser and digital printing technology, and mechanical seed delinting.

The CBT then moved to field site visits for the remainder of the week. Attendees observed cotton programs and discussed breeding strategies while visiting North Carolina State University, Clemson University/USDA-ARS, University of Georgia, Bayer CropScience, Dow, and Monsanto. To expand the toolbox cotton scientists use to develop improved varieties, attendees also heard from breeding experts in corn, muscadine, peanuts, sorghum, soybean, sweet potato, tobacco, and turfgrass during the week. Because of its increasing role in breeding programs, we also heard two presentations about high-throughput phenotyping (HTP). HTP is becoming increasingly valuable to collect vast amounts of field data using tractor-based and drone technology. The hard work of the tour was interrupted by a mid-week visit to the Charleston Tea Company, the sole tea growing site in North America.

The week-long 2015 Cotton Breeders’ Tour covered 1,145 miles and included two 14 hour working days. Attendees enjoyed traditional southern meals which featured distinctly different BBQ styles over the geography covered.

Tour Recap – WATCH NOW!

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