Even so, Darrel Dusek warned farmers during last Wednesday’s 2012 Annual Crop Tour that boll weevils could conceivably “hitchhike” back if precautions are not taken, especially when contract pickers move in from the Valley.
“Be sure the equipment is clean before you allow it in your area,” Dusek said.
Dusek, zone manager for boll weevil eradication, said volunteer cotton plants grow in ditches and provide a host for the weevils if they are not pulled up.
“If you see them, pull them up,” he said.
Approximately $1 billion has been invested to eradicate the pests, according to Jeff Nunley of South Texas Cotton and Grain.
Dr. Dan Fromme, extension agronomist, described this year as “boring on the insect front.”
Dr. Roy Parker, extension entomologist, said, “this has been a strange year in the insect world.”
Nunley had bleak news concerning the new farm bill.
“As it stands, it is not good for Southern farmers,” Nunley said. “Nothing is as good as what we have now. I wish I could be the bearer of good news but my eyes don’t glaze over when I talk about legislation this year.”
Robert Garza, of Texas Department of Agriculture, said there are 853,000 species of insects. His department receives approximately 50 - 55 complaints a year regarding pesticide use.
“The label is the law,” Garza said in regard to pesticide use. “Use it the way the label says.”
On an up side, Craig Brown, with South Cross, said the company has invested $100 million in its Woodsboro and Bonnie View plants. Both are nearly completed.
“They’ll be ready by the end of the summer,” Brown said.
Between 15 and 20 employees will be hired full time at the facilities that are surrounded by fields of grain sorghum and cotton.
During the afternoon tour, David Wyatt, manager of Bayside-Richardson Gin, said most of the cotton in the area will benefit from the rain.
The tour began Wednesday morning in Tivoli with breakfast at Canales Cafe. The morning tour stopped at Charlie Chan’s Austwell Aqua Farms. Stop two was to Don Easterwood and Craig Lenhart’s Gasaway Inc. — grain storage facility. The third and last stop was Lenhart’s sorghum demonstration plot.
At 4:30 p.m., the second half of the tour kicked off in Bonnie View Park followed by three tour stops. The first was to Kenneth Steindorf’s cotton root rot demonstration plot.
Stop 2 and 3 were to Walt Franke sorghum grain demonstration plot and Franke’s cotton variety demonstration plot.