Cotton IPM in Arizona: A Decade of Research, Implemention & Education
AffiliationUniversity of Arizona, Maricopa, AZ
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AbstractCotton production in Arizona has been faced with major challenges in insect control during the past decade. These challenges have been met through IPM programs of research, implementation, and education. The decade began (1990) with an outbreak of our key lepidopteran pest, the pink bollworm. Growers sprayed for all pests more than 11 times at a cost of over $113 / A that year. The following years (1991–1995) saw the introduction of and devastation by a serious, quality-reducing insect, the sweetpotato or silverleaf whitefly. Growers sprayed up to 6.6 times (1995) at a cost of over $145 / A to combat this single insect pest. The cotton IPM program at the University of Arizona along with industry, grower, and USDA partners readied farmers for the introduction (1996) of two strategic sets of pest control technology, ‘Bt’ transgenic cotton and insect growth regulators (IGR). Through an aggressive educational campaign, growers learned about the safe, effective, and sustainable use of these technologies. As a result, cotton growers saw their average spray requirement plummet from 12.5 sprays at $217 / A (1995) to an historic low of 1.91 sprays at $37 / A (1999). Now new threats from an old pest, Lygus bugs, pose serious challenges to these staggering advances in cotton IPM. This paper highlights the key advances made in research, implementation, and education during this volatile decade. Furthermore, we conclude with one example how systematic, large-scale, and long-term research can provide insight into the role that new technology and the knowledge to use it properly have on cotton grower and industry success.