VISALIA, Calif. - With forecasts of dramatically higher prices and the potential for more acres on their minds, Pima cotton producers will be gathering for the sixth annual Pima Production Summit at the Visalia Convention Center, Visalia, May 11.

Sponsored by Western Farm Press, Supima Association of America, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, and the University of California Cooperative Extension, the conference will begin with on-site registration and a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. The first speaker will take the podium at 9 a.m.

There will be reports on the 2004 planted acreage as well as a market outlook based on that acreage. There also will be updates on UC research as well as a look at some of the newer Pima varieties and the the higher quality Acala cottons which are being roller ginned and compete with Pima. The Supima Association also will make a report on its aggressive promotion campaign to increase consumption of Pima cotton products.

In recent weeks, acreage estimates for the San Joaquin Valley Pima crop have been ranging from 185,000 acres to more than 250,00 acres. “For sure it will be larger than last season’s 135,000 acres which was cut dramatically by poor spring planting conditions,” said Harry Cline, editor of Western Farm Press. “Prices are projected to be good this season, even with the big acreage increase.

“World stocks are the lowest in decades and demand for high quality cotton products is one of the fastest growing segments of the cotton market.”

This season’s planting conditions have been dramatically different early with ideal degree-day forecasts from mid to late March. For the five days beginning on March 21, the forecast was for 30 degree-days or more for Fresno and Bakersfield. Anything above 20 is considered ideal.

The summit is free and includes lunch.

At the last Summit, more than 20 commercial companies provided financial sponsorship for the event. Most of them set up booths inside the convention center ballroom, and they will be back this season.

A detailed program will appear in upcoming issues of Western Farm Press.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com