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Severity and Distribution of the 1995 Tobacco Budworm Outbreak in Mississippi

M.B. Layton, M.R. Williams, G. Andrews, S.D. Stewart


In 1995 cotton producers in the hill area of Mississippi experienced a severe outbreak of tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens). Infestation levels approached 100% infested plants with multiple eggs and larvae per plant in most heavy infested fields, and this level of pressure persisted over three weeks. Many fields sustained 50% to 90% boll damage and several thousand acres were completely destroyed by tobacco budworm. Total estimated insect control costs for the hill area of Mississippi were the highest ever at ca. $118 per acre with approximately $85 of this cost being directed specifically against tobacco budworm. Hill producers applied an estimated 8.2 foliar applications per acre against tobacco budworm yet still sustained an estimated 23.3% average yield loss to this pest. Severity of the tobacco budworm outbreak was similar for hill cotton both inside and outside the Boll Weevil Eradication Program Area. Tobacco budworm infestations were somewhat lighter than normal in the delta area of the state.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1996 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 820 - 822
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998