An Example of Economically Feasible Opportunities for Reducing Pesticide Use in Commercial Agriculture1
- James E. Casey,
- Ronald D. Lacewell and
- Winfield Sterling2
Due to increasing resistance of the bollworm, Heliothis zea (Boddie), and tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens (F.), in 1968 and 1969, the Texas Department of Corrections in cooperation with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, initiated a new pest management strategy. This new strategy was basically (i) to control boll weevil with a fall diapause program, (ii) control fleahopper with low dosages of insecticides applied as early as feasible and (iii) to terminate fleahopper, Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter), treatments quickly to allow beneficial insects to build and control bollworm and budworm.
Comparing 1968–69 cotton, Gossypium herbaceum L., production (traditional insecticide treatment) to the new 1970–72 strategy indicates that insecticide use declined from 14.51 kg/ha to 7.19 (12.9 to 6.4 lb/acre) while lint yield increased due to the new pest management strategy on the Brazos River region of the Texas Department of Corrections cotton farms. Estimated net returns would be expected to increase $55.87 ($22.61 on a per acre basis) with adoption of the new pest management strategy compared to the traditional strategy. The Trinity River region of the Texas Department of Corrections cotton farms indicate that the new pest management strategy brought about a 50% reduction in per hectare quantity of insecticides used (from 12.28 to 6.22 kg [10.8 to 5.6 lb]), a 90 kg/ha (80 lb/acre) yield increase, and $85.50/ha ($34.627/acre) net return increase.
Expanding these results to the 86.8 thousand hectares (215 thousand acres) to cotton in the surrounding area indicates that the new pest management strategy would increase cotton output by over 27.4 thousand bales, reduce quantity of insecticides applied by 607,000 kg (1.4 million lb) while increasing producer net returns over 5 million dollars.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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