Heavy rains and exceptionally wet fields and a delayed cotton harvest constitute sufficient reason to extend cotton stalk destruction deadlines for three pest management zones, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).

The deadline extension covers and area from Orange and Jefferson Counties on the Louisiana border to as far south and east as Lavaca and Jackson Counties (bordering Victoria) and as far north as Washington County.

Last week TDA extended the stalk destruction deadline for Zone 3, Area 1 (Jackson, Wharton and parts of Wharton Counties) from its normal Oct. 1 deadline to Oct. 15 after an official request was made by the local Cotton Producers Advisory Committee (CPAC). In support of that request, the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) added their support to the request, indicating they believed such an extension, if granted, would not increase boll weevil risks.

TDA program specialist Dr. Robert Crocker, who approved the initial extension request, has now added to the extension, setting the new stalk destruction deadline for Zone 3, Area 1, to Nov. 1. In addition, Zone 3 Area 2 and Area 3 have been added to the list at the request of CPAC, and deadlines for all of Zone 3 have been officially extended to Nov. 1.

Crocker confirmed the new extension deadlines in a letter dated Oct. 15 after CPAC and TBWEF expressed support for the new request.

According to TDA, the latest request for extension stated that the (new) blanket extension was needed becauseof weather issues over several different periods of time throughout the Zone. Planting was delayed in some areas due to rainfall, and some areas had excessive rainfall during the latter part of the growing season. The last episode was rainfall received over the last couple of weeks, which delayed cotton harvest as well as stalk destruction. Some areas received as much as 7 or 8 inches of rain.

Weather records indicate that for the last three months, much of Zone 3 received 8 to 10 inches of rain with some areas receiving 10 to 15 inches. Almost the entire zone has received rain during the past 7 days, with most of the zone having received 1.5 to 2.0 inches of new rain.

The Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) commented on the latest request saying it sees a negligible risk in extending the stalk destruction deadline for all of Zone 3 until Nov. 1, 2012. The Upper Coastal Bend zone has inspected 47,209 boll weevil traps year-to-date in Pest Management zones 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3. No boll weevils have been caught in Zone 3 either this year or in 2011.

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

  • Area 1 includes Jackson and Matagorda counties and that portion of Wharton County west of the Colorado River. The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 1, is October 1.
  • Area 2 includes Austin, Brazoria, and Fort Bend counties and that portion of Wharton County east of the Colorado River. The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 2, is October 15.
  • Area 3 includes Chambers, Colorado, Fayette, Galveston, Gonzales, Harris, Jefferson, Lavaca, Liberty, Orange, Waller, and Washington counties. The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 3, is October 20.