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PBW Program Highlights Pest Pressure in Cotton

Brian German Industry, Pest Update

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has recently released their final report on the Pink Bollworm (PBW) Program for the San Joaquin Valley.  The program also monitors the presence of Silverleaf Whitefly (SLWF) among other pests.

The information released includes all the samples collected during the 2017 cotton growing season.  Data that was comprised comes from samples from PBW trap sites at 5% of all cotton fields in each county. The PBW Program takes samples from a total of PBW Program109 SLWF sites in six counties.  There are 31 sites in Merced County, 29 sites in Fresno County, 24 sites in Kings County, 13 sites in Kern County, 11 sites in Tulare County, and one site in Madera County.

In Kern, Tulare and Madera counties all sites sampled were positive for both SLWF and aphids at some point during the season.  In Kings County, 96% of the sites were positive for SLWF.  All sites were also positive for aphids. Results were similar in Fresno County where all sites were positive for aphids and 93% of sites were positive for SLWF. A total of 77% percent of Madera County sites were positive for SLWF and 94% were positive for aphids.

The survey also found that sooty mold was a considerable problem in fields in Kern, Kings, Tulare and Merced Counties.  Mites were found in more than 90% of samples from every county monitored.  Armyworm presence was low for every county, with Tulare only finding them in 27% of the sites.

Throughout the season industry associations encourage growers and PCAs to use the information provided by the PBW Program to help reduce the amount of sticky cotton in California.