Cotton IPM in Tennessee
Typical yields in Tennessee range between 750 – 1250 pounds of lint per acre. Estimated statewide insect losses in recent years have averaged about 4 – 7%. Insect pests usually cost Tennessee cotton producers over $100 per acre in control costs plus crop losses. Most cotton is grown in the western part of the state, but about 20,000 acres are produced in Middle Tennessee counties (production map). Historically, the boll weevil was the most important cotton insect pest in Tennessee. Boll weevil eradication is now complete and has eliminated economic injury to the crop by this pest. Growers in Tennessee currently pay less than $2 per acre for maintaining eradication. Bt cotton, primarily used for control of tobacco budworm and bollworm, is planted on over 99% of the acres. Over one-half of Tennessee’s typical insect control budget is accounted for by costs of Bt cotton, preventative insecticides used for thrips control, consulting fees, and maintenance of boll weevil eradication. Tarnished plant bug, clouded plant bug, stink bugs and spider mites are other pests of primary economic importance. Specific information about the scouting and management of insect and mite pests in cotton is available at the site linked below.
- Cotton Insect Pest Guide – Biology, sampling, treatment thresholds, and insecticide options
- Zoom Recording of 2020 UT Cotton Scout School – Zoom recording of 2020 virtual training
- Drop Cloth, Sweep Net, Visual – Details about sampling methods