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Boll weevil battles rage on outside the U.S. (Brazil)

Delta Farm Press

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“This been one of the worst thrips seasons we’ve had in Mississippi in recent years,” says Angus Cachet. “We’ve made multiple applications on a lot of acres.” 

Mississippi is now into the eighth season of boll weevil-free status, thanks to the success of the years-long beltwide weevil eradication program. 

If you need a refresher course on the destructive power of the boll weevil — the pest that cost U.S. growers billions of dollars in treatment costs and lost yield over many decades — you have only to go to Brazil, says Angus Catchot, a Mississippi State University Extension professor of entomology.

ANGUS CATCHOT

He and Darrin Dodds, associate Extension/research professor of plant and soil sciences at MSU, took a group of research students to the World Cotton Research Conference in the South American country, and spent a few days in the field looking at cotton and other crops.

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“I had almost forgotten how bad boll weevils can be,” Catchot said at the joint annual meeting of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Cotton Policy Committee, where it was announced that Mississippi is now into the eighth season of weevil-free status, thanks to the success of the years-long beltwide weevil eradication program.

Larry Coker, cotton producer, Blue Springs, Miss., and Ed Humphrey, Jr., Ellistown, Miss., were among those attending the joint annual meeting of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Cotton Policy Committee.

 

“Brazilian cotton farmers were making 25 to 30 applications for boll weevils,” he says. “It’s unbelievable how bad the weevils were. In that area, weevils were pretty much putting them out of business.

“It was a good experience for our students to see this firsthand — most of them had no idea how devastating the pest can be. That we’re into our eighth year with no weevils in Mississippi is a testament to the hard work and investment of Mississippi and U.S. cotton growers.”

Here at home, Catchot says, “This been one of the worst thrips seasons we’ve had in recent years. We’ve made multiple applications on a lot of acres. We had dry weather during much of that time, and thrips tend to be worse during dry periods.”

Adding to the problem, he says, is increasing resistance to the common seed treatment insecticides used by cotton growers.

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