Notorious worms called root-knot nematodes fail in their attacks on a new breeding line of nematode-resistant sugar beets from Agricultural Research Service plant breeders. What's more, the gene or genes that help these new sugar beets thwart the microscopic, soil-dwelling worms may possibly be moved into other kinds of plants - including peaches, nectarines, potatoes or tomatoes - that are otherwise vulnerable to nematode forays.

Besides reducing the quality and quantity of a harvest, hungry root-knot nematodes can create an entryway for root rots, according to ARS geneticist Ming H. Yu at Salinas, Calif. Yu developed the new M6-1 line of sugar beets and offered them to plant breeders and researchers for the first time this year. He is with the ARS Crop Improvement and Production Research Unit.

In Yu's greenhouse tests, the M6-1 sugar beets suffered little if any damage when exposed to six different species of Meloidogyne nematodes. These species make up 98 percent of the root-knot nematodes in the world's agricultural soils. The M6-1 sugar beets apparently are the first plants known to be resistant to all six of these nematode species.

A relative of Swiss chard, sugar beets are a natural source of high-quality sugar, a nutritious feed ingredient for cattle and sheep, and a source of raw materials for making yeast, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Some backyard gardeners raise sugar beets for leafy greens.

The California Beet Growers Association, in Stockton, Calif., helped fund Yu's experiments. An article in the August 2000 issue of ARS' Agricultural Research magazine tells more about Yu's studies and also highlights ARS sugar beet work.

There's more to our High Cotton Award than simply honoring top growers. By identifying the very best producers, we can share their successful methods with others.

And that's where you can help...by nominating someone you know who is qualified for this award.

Farm Press, publishers of Southeast Farm Press, Delta Farm Press, Southwest Farm Press, and Western Farm Press, in cooperation with the Cotton Foundation, is sponsoring the High Cotton award program.

Our 2000 winners were honored at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences earlier this year at San Antonio, Texas.

The objective of the program is to promote technology that has been developed by researchers, Extension, consultants, industry, and growers to help American cotton farmers produce more profitable, higher quality crops - while demonstrating a concern for the environment.

One part of the program is to identify and recognize those growers, and to share their successful methods with others.

That's where you come in. Tell us who you think would qualify for a High Cotton award, based on these important criteria:

n The nominee must be a full-time grower, in one of the four cotton belt regions (Southeast, Mid-South, Southwest, Far West) who achieves a profitable return from growing cotton.

n The nominee must produce cotton that is of consistently high quality.

n The nominee must use environmentally sound production methods.

Here's how you can nominate a grower for the 2001 High Cotton award:

Any cotton grower, agribusiness representative (equipment, fertilizer, feed/seed dealer, distributor, etc.), Extension agent, farm advisor, consultant, university researcher, or others involved in production agriculture or agribusiness, may submit a nomination.

Judging will begin in September and in November, High Cotton finalists will be chosen for each of the four cotton growing regions.

The winner from each region will receive an expense-paid trip for two to the 2001 Beltwide Cotton Conferences at Anaheim, California, where the awards will be presented.

We're counting on you to help us find those very special growers who deserve High Cotton recognition by nominating someone you feel is qualified.

Nomination forms and additional information may be obtained from:

Sandy Perry High Cotton Coordinator Farm Press P.O. Box 1420 Clarksdale, MS 38614 Phone 662/627-0150

Write or phone for a nomination form today!