Cotton in other crops costly to farmers

ABILENE — Farmers on the High Plains of Texas know that crop damage from foul weather is one challenge they will have to contend with.

Recent storms in the area unleashed hail, high winds and heavy rains that caused significant damage to the emerging cotton crop of many growers. They must make a decision soon about whether to replant cotton or plant an alternate crop.

But before they plant an alternate crop, they need to do a thorough job of destroying remaining cotton plants in their fields, said Charles Allen, program director of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.

“If High Plains growers fail their cotton before the certification date and keep it free of fruiting cotton plants for the remainder of the season, they qualify for a credit on their assessment,” he said.

“They’ll really help themselves if they do a thorough job of plowing down cotton plants in their fields before they plant another crop,” Allen said.

Ensuring no viable cotton remains before planting the new crop, saves the growers money, Allen said.

If the cotton is not destroyed, it may grow back and provide a haven for the cotton boll weevil, he said. The weevils will feed and reproduce in the cotton and become a source for infesting remaining cotton fields.

Allen said foundation employees will continue to trap and monitor fields originally planted to cotton to ensure any hostable cotton or potential boll weevil populations are detected. If weevils are found, the fields will have to be treated, along with any adjacent cotton fields.

The new weevil populations and additional field treatments add to the total cost of eradication, he said.

The Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation is a nonprofit, grower-initiated and funded organization dedicated to eliminating the cotton boll weevil from the state in the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner possible.

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