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Cotton quality improves with diverse pollinator populations

In the Conversation

by  and 

Cotton is the world’s most widely grown and economically important nonfood crop. In the United States alone, farmers grow cotton on 12 million to 14.5 million acres, and produce a yearly harvest worth nearly US$25 billion.

Before cotton’s fluffy bolls emerge, the plant produces large white flowers, similar to those of the hibiscus. These flowers attract a wide range of insects, including bees, flies, butterflies and beetles, which visit the flowers to collect nectar and pollen as food and act as pollinators, moving pollen between flowers. Continue reading

Pollinators help cotton yields in Texas

In Southwest Farm Press

by Logan Hawkes

According to the results of a new study published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment today (June 16, 2016 issue), South Texas cotton fields surrounded by natural land cover and an increase in the number of natural pollinators can result in an overall increase in cotton production – by as much as 18 percent.

Shalene Jha, assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas-Austin and senior author of the study, says increasing the diversity of pollinator species around cotton fields—including bees, flies and butterflies—can dramatically increase yields. Using South Texas as a basis for the study, she concludes that annual cotton revenues of the region can be increased by more than $1.1 million. Continue reading

Integrated pest management can reduce grower cost

This feature article, appearing on June 15 in Delta Farm Press, provides some of the best reasons that growers should practice the techniques of integrated pest management: scouting their fields, measuring their soil nutrition, and waiting to use chemical intervention until it’s warranted. Spoken by an Extension professional who came from the crop consulting field, the message summarizes what the Regional Centers and state IPM Coordinators stand for. Continue reading

Palmer amaranth management cutting into Georgia cotton farmers’ profits

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Georgia cotton farmers are successfully managing the state’s most problematic weed, glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, by using many methods, including hand-pulling the weed out of their fields. But tackling the weed is drastically cutting into their already limited profits, according to University of Georgia weed scientist Stanley Culpepper.

“When you ask most of our growers if they’re doing OK in regard to managing Palmer amaranth, the answer is, ‘Absolutely not.’ But it’s because of the cost of management, not the methods of management,” said Culpepper, a researcher with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. 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

Stink bugs and kudzu bugs not as much of a problem this year

Both the brown marmorated stink bug and the kudzu bug made an appearance in Virginia fields this year, but not at the same high levels as in previous years which is good news, according to Virginia Tech Entomologist Ames Herbert.

Read the rest of the story in Southeast Farm Press.

Cotton growers: don’t let down guard on stink bugs

From Southeast Farm Press

Auburn University Extension Entomologist Ron Smith cautioned growers during the recent Wiregrass Field Crops Day not to let down their guard on stink bugs in cotton.

Continue reading