TBWEF Program Director Charles Allen and SHP Zone Manager Patrick Burson are laying it on the line to Southern High Plains growers that failed cotton fields in the SHP Zone must be destroyed before the Sept. 3 program start date, otherwise those fields will be liable for an assessment.

In a joint letter to all growers in the SHP Zone, Allen and Burson explain, “We understand that removing or killing scattered plants (in failed fields) is often difficult and costly, but doing this is critical to the success of boll weevil eradication.”

They say these plants can grow, produce fruit and provide places for boll weevil feeding and production. “These fields will need to be sprayed,” says Burson, “and the cost of treating failed but incompletely destroyed cotton will have to be paid by the cotton producers in the zone.”

“It's well understood that growers need to allow time for insurance companies to evaluate and process claims on failed fields” says Allen, “and we also understand and respect that some farmers want to leave cotton in the field for as long as possible to provide cover and to help prevent wind erosion.

“However, other growers should not be expected to pay for the treatments that will be required on incompletely destroyed cotton.”

Plans are to start treating SHP Zone fields for boll weevil eradication starting Sept. 3, 2001. Fields that have not been completely destroyed by that date will be assessed.

“If cotton plants remain in a field, that field can produce boll weevils” Burson said. “Then that field will require treatment in the diapause phase of our program. We've instructed our personnel to work with growers to ensure all cotton has been destroyed in failed fields before spraying begins Sept. 3.”

Allen urges SHP growers to call their local TBWEF district office with any questions. “The greatest expenses are incurred in the diapause phase and then in year two of the program,” says Allen. “Multiple insecticide applications to acres of failed, but incompletely destroyed cotton will add unnecessary costs to the program. Every grower in the SHP Zone should make sure any failed cotton is completely destroyed before Sept. 3.”