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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Sustainable Pest Management Strategies for Arid-land Crops

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: $1+ Cotton? New Thresholds

Authors
item Ellsworth, Peter -
item Brown, Lydia -
item Fournier, Al -
item Naranjo, Steven

Submitted to: University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: June 22, 2011
Publication Date: June 22, 2011
Repository URL: http://ag.arizona.edu/crops/cotton/files/NewThresholdsVF.pdf
Citation: Ellsworth, P., Brown, L., Fournier, A., Naranjo, S.E. 2011. $1+ Cotton? New Thresholds. Field Crop IPM Shorts, Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona, Tucson. Extension Fact Sheets. 7/2011.

Interpretive Summary: Cotton is a major crop in Arizona and is affected by multiple insect pests. A highly effective and economically efficient integrated pest management program has been developed for the major pests of cotton. The program utilizes sampling to determine the abundance of pest insects in the field and economic thresholds that determine when insect abundance is high enough to warrant some sort of control action. The economic threshold represents a break-even point between the cost of controlling a pest and the amount of damage that pest is capable of causing. Because crop price and insect control costs can change over time the economic threshold is actually dynamic rather than static. In recent months, the world demand for cotton lint has driven the price of cotton to high levels. Thus, growers might be asking if the economic thresholds they typically use in the field should be changing with these crop price increases. This extension circular explains that despite changes in crop price, our currently recommended thresholds for control of plant bugs and whiteflies should remain the same. This unexpected result is based on a robust understanding of the relationship between pest abundance and crop damage, which show that current thresholds will continue to protect lint yield and quality even with the current high price of cotton lint on the world market.

Technical Abstract: Cotton is a major crop in Arizona and is affected by multiple insect pests. A highly effective and economically efficient integrated pest management program has been developed for the major pests of cotton. The program utilizes sampling to determine the abundance of pest insects in the field and economic thresholds that determine when insect abundance is high enough to warrant some sort of control action. The economic threshold represents a break-even point between the cost of controlling a pest and the amount of damage that pest is capable of causing. Because crop price and insect control costs can change over time the economic threshold is actually dynamic rather than static. In recent months, the world demand for cotton lint has driven the price of cotton to high levels. Thus, growers might be asking if the economic thresholds they typically use in the field should be changing with these crop price increases. This extension circular explains that despite changes in crop price, our currently recommended thresholds for control of plant bugs and whiteflies should remain the same. This unexpected result is based on a robust understanding of the relationship between pest abundance and crop damage, which show that current thresholds will continue to protect lint yield and quality even with the current high price of cotton lint on the world market.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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