New boll weevil lure attracts savings

The Super Lure, boll weevil attractant developed with funding from Cotton Incorporated, will be used in field traps to monitor 2 million acres of cotton against boll weevil re-infestation this season, while saving growers as much as $1.25 per acre in maintenance costs.

Since the lure remains effective for three weeks, instead of two, the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southeastern Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (SEBWEF) is reporting the reduction in needed man hours could save growers an estimated 85 cents to $1.25 per acre.

The technology supporting Super Lure was licensed from Cotton Incorporated to the SEBWEF in 2002 on a royalty free basis. Last fall, the SEBWEF tested the lure on 300,000 of Georgia's 1.5 million acres of cotton to confirm results.

Those tests were extremely successful, and according to Jim Brumley, executive director, SEBWEF, the Super Lure will be used this year in 100 percent of the cotton fields in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

“Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is using the Super Lure on test plots throughout the state,” explains Brumley. Officials at the SEBWEF think all post-eradication acres in the Southeast will be using the Super Lure by next season's crop.

An added benefit and savings of using Super Lure is that it allows traps to be placed every 20 acres, instead of one to every 10.

Although Cotton Incorporated has only issued a license to the SEBWEF, it can be licensed by other boll weevil foundations across the Cotton Belt. “We have received several calls regarding licensing this technology from other foundations,” explains Brumley, “but the majority of the areas have small acreage in post-eradication zones.”

Officials think Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and possibly Kansas, may use the technology as they ease into post-eradication. 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. The license is available only in the United States.

The Super Lure works off a patented “pheromone enhancement” that extends both the effective life and efficiency of a boll weevil trap's bait chip. Gerald McKibben, who retired from the USDA Agricultural Research Service's Boll Weevil Research Unit in Starkville, Miss., developed the technology with research dollars funded by Cotton Incorporated.

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