Destroy any cotton in abandoned fields to curb boll weevils

One of the harsh realities of farming cotton on the High Plains is that late spring and early summer storms are likely to produce hail that could damage or destroy a crop.

Crop losses can be devastating financially to an individual grower, but the cost to the area cotton industry is compounded if farmers do not destroy plants in abandoned acreage affected by severe weather.

Cultural controls play an important role in boll weevil eradication, says Charles Allen, program director for the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.

One of the most important of these controls is eliminating a food source and a place for boll weevils to reproduce, Allen says. The damaged cotton remaining in storm-affected fields can be a good place for weevils to find both.

“Leaving cotton in these fields will allow needless increases in the boll weevil population and costs to growers in the eradication program,” he says.

Allen urges growers to destroy cotton in fields that will not be brought to harvest as soon as possible. He also recommends that growers destroy any cotton remaining in a field that will be replanted in another crop.

“Weevils will find the cotton left in these fields and use it for feeding and reproduction,” he says.

Growers who destroy plants in weather-damaged fields, or who fail cotton for any other reason by July 15 are eligible to receive a credit in the amount of their assessment, provided they keep the fields free of hostable cotton until the first killing freeze.

Eliminating cotton plants in fields that will be planted to another crop is also necessary to prevent boll weevil population increases.

These fields also qualify for the credit against assessments as long as they are kept free of all hostable cotton until the first killing freeze.

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