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Abandoned cotton acres can give refuge to boll weevils

Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation officials say cotton producers in eradication zones from Abilene to the Northern High Plains zone who certified failed cotton need to keep those fields free of hostable cotton — undestroyed growth that can sustain boll weevil feeding and reproduction.

Volunteer cotton is a troublesome problem in eradication, said Charles Allen, program director. Its presence along field edges and in fields that have been planted to another crop provides a haven for boll weevil to continue to infest a zone.

Because of this danger, foundation personnel must continue to place traps and perform weekly inspections on fields that have cotton plants in them, he said. Whenever weevils are caught in the traps, the fields will have to be sprayed.

Allen said the measures are necessary to protect the gains made in eradication and to prevent unnecessary program costs.

Growers who certified failed acres by July 15 are eligible for a credit for those acres on their assessments, provided the fields remain free of hostable cotton.

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