Cotton Incorporated and the Southeast Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation have signed a licensing agreement for a patented “pheromone enhancement” that will extend the life and efficiency of the foundation's pheromone traps.
The new technology, created through research funded by CI, will enable eradication programs to extend the interval between pheromone trap checks from two to three weeks and locate one trap per 20 acres instead of the current one per 10 acres.
The changes are expected to produce measurable savings for Southeast and Delta cotton producers who have agreed to pay up to $12 an acre, in some cases, to maintain the weevil-free status of regions that have completed boll weevil eradication.
“The reduction in man hours needed to pull maintenance should translate into potential savings for growers from 85 cents, up to as much as $1.10 per acre,” said Jim Wilson, program manager, containment, for the SEBWEF.
“We've always had to hire seasonal workers to complete the re-baiting process, but this enhanced lure extends the longevity of the bait, which will allow our full-time staff to now handle the job themselves.”
“The agreement includes a non-exclusive non-royalty clause that is significant for growers because the lure was created with funding from the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. Growers will not incur an added technology fee in addition to their boll weevil eradication assessments,” said Preston Sasser, vice president and managing director, research for Cotton Incorporated.
The license is applicable only in the United States, but may also be licensed to other boll weevil foundations across the Cotton Belt — although no other licenses have been applied for at this time.
Gerald McKibben, a retired USDA Agricultural Research Service entomologist in Starkville, Miss., developed the technology. The enhanced lure will be tested this year on about 200,000 of Georgia's 1.5 million acres of cotton to confirm results revealed in an earlier small-scale project. If the experiment works as expected, the savings potential in Georgia alone would be around $1.5 million per year.