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2017 cotton crop expected to put state at 4th in nation as largest

Oklahoma's 2017 cotton crop is now projected to make the state the fourth-largest cotton-producing state in the nation.

It is estimated the crop, as of Nov. 1, will yield 1.1 million bales. In the last couple of years, cotton acreage in the state has ramped up and the 2017 season will see 555,000 acres of cotton harvested in the state, up from 290,000 acres of cotton in 2016 and 205,000 acres in 2015.

The yield jumped to 101 pounds of lint per acre from October to November in the USDA estimates, pushing the state total production to 1.1 million bales. Last year, the crop ended up being 617,000 bales; in 2015, 374,000 bales were harvested from Oklahoma fields.

If 2017 unfolds in a similar fashion to the 2016 crop and timeline with USDA, the 1.1 million bale number could get even bigger by the time the books are closed on this historic crop.

Cattle Trails Conference

Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University annually share a Cattle Trails Conference. This year the conference will be held Dec. 1 at the Region 9 Education Service Center, 301 Texas 11 Loop in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Appearing on the program will be James Jackson, Texas A&M, who will talk on weed and brush control in range and pasture. Jason Johnson, Texas A&M, will update the beef cattle market outlook. Emk Kimura, Texas A&M, will talk on forage production.

Kevin Derzapf, U.S. Department of Agriculture, will explain methods for conversion of cropland into pasture.

Dave Lalman, OSU, will round out the program by speaking on maximizing feed efficiency.

Industry sponsors will have their products on display during the event.

Registration is $25 and includes educational materials, a noon meal and refreshments. To preregister, contact your local Extension agent in Texas or Oklahoma, or Allison Ha at 940-552-9941, ext. 225, or 

The role of bees

We all know bees, through their ability to pollinate such crops as alfalfa and nearly all flowers and horticultural crops, are absolutely necessary for worldwide agriculture to prosper.

While it was once thought fungicides did not harm bees, at least in some scientists' opinion, a team of Cornell University scientists has proved otherwise. They analyzed two dozen environmental factors to understand bumblebee population declines and range contractions. They expected to find stressors like changes in land use, geography or insecticides.

Instead, they found a shocker: fungicides, commonly thought to have no impact.

"Insecticides work; they kill insects," said Scott McArt, Cornell entomologist. "Fungicides have been largely overlooked because they are not targeted for insects, but fungicides may not be quite as benign  toward bumblebees  as we once thought. The study, "Landscape Predictors of Pathogen Prevalence and Range Contractions in United States Bumblebees," was published in the Nov. edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society."

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