The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina has set the boll weevil assessment for 2012 at 70 cents per acre of cotton. That amount is 30 cents less than the 2011 assessment.
The fee supports the foundation’s efforts to monitor cotton acreage for any re-introduction of the boll weevil, which was eradicated in the state in 1986, and to respond promptly with eradication treatments if necessary.
“With stable or increasing cotton acreage, farmers will certainly want to maximize their cotton yields this year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The boll weevil assessment is an excellent investment. We don’t want a return of this highly destructive pest in North Carolina, and the trapping and monitoring supported by this assessment helps ensure any spot re-introductions of boll weevils are quickly dealt with.”
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, farmers should anticipate the number of traps in fields will decrease. As such, each trap will be critical, and farmers are encouraged to contact the foundation if traps are damaged or knocked down.
Given an increase in cotton acreage last year, just over 13,000 traps were placed and maintained in North Carolina, with each trap monitoring an average of 61 acres. Farmers in 55 counties grew 798,342 certified acres of cotton last year. The top three cotton-growing counties were Edgecombe, Halifax and Bertie.
To allow for trapping and monitoring, cotton growers are required to certify cotton acreage information with their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office by June 30. To learn more about the boll weevil monitoring program, go online to http://www.ncagr.gov/plantindustry/plant/entomology/BW.htm.