By Vernon Cox, NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division
The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina has set the 2017 boll weevil assessment at 75¢ per acre of cotton, dropping the fee from $1.
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.
“This trapping and monitoring program is a great investment for farmers who already have a lot of variables to manage in raising a crop,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Eliminating the boll weevil from our state years ago has allowed us to have a viable cotton crop. We certainly don’t want to see the return of this devastating pest, and this program helps us keep an eye on cotton fields in case of any spot re-introductions.”
Foundation contractors will install and monitor traps from late summer until after harvest and frost. Because the focus of North Carolina’s program has shifted from eradication to monitoring, the number of traps in fields has decreased. As such, each trap is critical, and farmers are encouraged to contact the foundation if traps are damaged or knocked down.
More than 5,500 traps were placed and maintained in North Carolina last year, with each trap monitoring an average of 49.6 acres. To allow for trapping and monitoring, cotton growers are required to certify cotton acreage information with their local US Farm Service Agency office by July 15.
Farmers in 55 counties grew 274,198 certified acres of cotton last year. The top three cotton-growing counties were Halifax, Northampton and Bertie.
To learn more about the boll weevil monitoring program, go to www.ncagr.gov/plantindustry/plant/entomology/BW.htm.