This past week the Cotton Incorporated Cotton Breeders Tour came to Georgia. This tour consisted of cotton breeders from all across the US cotton belt. While the bulk of the group was from public institutions, there were also a few industry breeders on the tour. A handful of participants were from other countries – some were visiting scientists at US universities and a few were from industry.
The tour kicked off Sunday in Cary, NC and eventually made its way to GA on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday the group visited with Delvin Williams at his farm just south of Lumber City. There the group got to see a large conventional cotton strip plot. The strip plot consisted of 6 transgenic/stacked trait varieties, 6 conventional varieties, and one variety that was Roundup Ready only. It was very interesting to have both Dr. Peng Chee (Georgia) and Dr. Fred Bourland (Arkansas) present at this plot since several of the varieties being tested came from their breeding programs. The group also heard from Bayer CropScience on Wednesday at Bayer’s new cotton breeding location just outside of Dawson.
Thursday the group of cotton breeders toured the UGA Tifton Campus. Cotton test plots were shown to the group at the Gibbs farm and their was a very good discussion about the future of breeding for nematode resistance and fiber quality. The group also got to hear from other crop breeders such as Dr. Bill Branch (peanuts), Dr. Brian Scwartz (turfgrass), and Dr. Patrick Conner (pecan and muscadine). The group was very engaged and interactive while learning about the challenges and progression the other crop breeders have in their respective programs.
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Dr. Peng Chee and his staff address the Cotton Incorporated Cotton Breeders Tour group at the UGA Gibbs Farm in Tifton, GA.