Charles Parker honored for boll weevil eradication

In Southwest Farm Press

The idea that you could eradicate the boll weevil from an area as large as the eastern U.S. Cotton Belt is breathtaking in its scope. That many farmers from so many diverse regions of the country had never worked together before.

Today the boll weevil has basically been pushed back across the border into Mexico, thanks, in large measure, to the work of the National Cotton Council’s Boll Weevil Action Committee. The group was first chaired by Marshall Grant, a cotton producer from North Carolina and then by Charles Parker, producer from Senath, Mo. Continue reading

The war on the boll weevil

by Dominic Reisig, NC State University

In NC State University News

The boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is not much to look at – just a grayish, little beetle with an impressively long snout. But this particular beetle, and its hunger for cotton, was powerful enough to forge an unprecedented partnership between farmers, legislators and scientists. And that partnership showed how much can be accomplished when scientists and farmers work together.

What adult boll weevils lack in size they make up for with their larvae’s ability to feed on and destroy cotton. Boll weevils entered the U.S. from Mexico in the late 1800s, when they were first spotted in Texas. By the 1920s they had spread through all of the major cotton-producing areas in the country. The scope of the damage was breathtaking, as were the control efforts thrown at this insect: at one time, one-third of the insecticide used in the U.S. was used to combat boll weevils. Continue reading

Boll weevil eradication still working in Mississippi

In Delta Farm Press

It was, said Farrell Boyd, “the same good news I’ve brought you the past seven years — no boll weevils in Mississippi. Not a single one. I’m pleased as I can be that we’re now in our eighth year of a totally boll weevil-free Mississippi.”

Boyd, who’s manager of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation passed on the news to producers and industry leaders at the organization’s annual joint meeting with the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s Cotton Policy Committee. Continue reading

Brazil battles the boll weevil

In Delta Farm Press

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.

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. Continue reading

Cotton entomologist responsible for boll weevil pheromone trap dies

In Delta Farm Press

D.D. “Dick” Hardee, the USDA Agricultural Research Services research entomologist who led the team that developed the boll weevil pheromone trap which helped eradicate the pest from the U.S. Cotton Belt, has died in Greenville, Miss. He was 77.

Dr. Hardee, a native of Snyder, Texas, spent most of his career working in cotton, first as a research entomologist at the USDA-ARS Boll Weevil Research Laboratory at Mississippi State University, then as a crop consultant and as the leader of the Southern Insect Management Research Unit at USDA-ARS’ Jamie Whitten Research facility at Stoneville, Miss. Continue reading

North Carolina boll weevil assessment remains at $1 per acre

In Southeast Farm Press

The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina has set the 2015 boll weevil assessment at $1 per acre of cotton, keeping the fee the same as in 2014.

The fee supports the foundation’s efforts to monitor cotton acreage in North Carolina for any re-introduction of the boll weevil and to respond promptly with eradication treatments if necessary.

Continue reading

BWEP, GMO improve farm efficiency, significant challenges remain

In Southwest Farm Press

The success of the Boll Weevil Eradication program has resulted in a $2.3 billion advantage for the Texas cotton industry. And, combined with widespread adoption of transgenic crops, the eradication program allowed farmers to significantly reduce the number of pesticide applications they make and to increase yields by some 30 percent.

Continue reading