The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina has set the 2016 boll weevil assessment at $1 per acre of cotton, keeping the fee the same for the third straight year.
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.
“Cotton production tapered back last year from record 2014 numbers, with an average yield of 686 pounds per acre. We wouldn’t have the acreage we have now without the considerable effort in the 1980s to eradicate boll weevils from the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We don’t want to see the return of this devastating pest, and the boll weevil trapping program helps us keep an eye on cotton fields in case of any spot re-introductions. I believe it is a great investment for cotton producers.”
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 7,500 traps were placed and maintained in North Carolina last year, with each trap monitoring an average of 50.9 acres. 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 July 15.
Farmers in 50 counties grew 383,706 certified acres of cotton last year. The top three cotton-growing counties were Halifax, Northampton and Martin.