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Cotton is once again a major crop in North Carolina. The production of cotton declined from 1.8 million acres in 1926 to 42,000 acres in 1978. The boll weevil eradication program has resulted in a dramatic increase in cotton acreage through the 1990s as the average number of insecticide sprays declined from 8’12 per year to 3 or less. The decrease in production costs through the 1990s led to a resurgence in annual cotton acreage to the current level of 700,000 – 900,000 acres.

The primary diseases limiting cotton yield are soilborne. Seedling diseases and plant-parasitic nematodes account for the greatest yield losses in cotton, although occasionally other diseases may impact yield. The root-knot, Columbia lance, reniform, and sting nematodes are increasingly responsible for cotton yield suppression. The primary tactics for management of these nematodes are the use of nematicides, and cultural practices such as rotation. Resistance to nematodes in cotton is generally lacking, although cultivars tolerant to some of these nematodes has been identified.

Some additional web sites:

More information about disease in cotton is available from the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic.

Disease factsheets