The Texas Department of Agriculture has extended the cotton stalk destruction deadline until November 1 for Pest Management Zone 3 (Upper Coastal Bend) because of unavoidable harvest delays.

Timely stalk destruction is critical for the state’s Boll Weevil Eradication Program (BWEP) to help prevent weevil reproduction on viable plants after harvest. Section 20.22 of the Texas Administrative Code provides that the department may grant a blanket extension of the destruction deadline covering an entire cotton stalk destruction zone or a portion of an entire zone under certain circumstances.

Zone officials requested the delay in a September 21 letter that asked for all of Zone 3 to be extended to November 1 for the 2010 crop year only. The request was made on the basis of excessive rainfall that had occurred over several different periods of time, with the latest rains continuing into the week of the request.

The request noted that exceptional wet fall, winter and early spring weather had delayed some plantings and that rain in July had contributed further to a delayed harvest, as boll rot at that time forced many producers to push the cotton to produce a top crop with delayed maturity.

The Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) noted that slightly more than 125,111 acres of cotton were planted in Zone 3 in 2010.  Also, as of September 22, just more than 50,295 acres (40.3 percent) had been harvested and some 74,815 acres (59.7 percent) was un-harvested. TBWEF summarized that for 2010, boll weevil captures in Zone 3 have been very low.

National Weather Service data confirm above normal 30 day precipitation in Zone 3 areas 1, 2 and 3. In some cases, precipitation was three times normal or higher.

 Pest Management Zone 3 (Zone 3) consists of three areas:

  • The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 1 is October 1.
  • The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 2 is October 15.
  • The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 3 is October 20.