Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Boll Weevil Ate Cotton Profits, 1949

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, as published in the Charlotte Observer, Dec. 5, 1949

North Carolina farmers are tremendously concerned about how to make money through the use of additional crops, and how to save the money that they make. One good way to save money is not to let insects and plant diseases destroy what has been produced. One of the most surprising statement to come to my attention this fall is one by B.C. Lineberger of Lincolnton, who in his official capacity as a member of the National Cotton Council, said that this state has suffered a loss of $23,901,000 from cotton insect pests this year. Twenty-three million dollars is a lot of money. Mr. Lineberger estimates that our cotton crop was reduced by 18 percent this season, to far exceed the losses of last year when only seven percent was lost from attacks by insect pests.

In other words, the value of the lint and the seed lost through the depredations of the boll weevil alone in 1949 is 2 ½ times what it was in 1948. The loss was $9,622,000 last year and that was bad enough. Mr. Lineberger says we lost 143,000 bales of cotton and 57,000 tons of good cottonseed to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the boll weevil. Based on an average price of $150 a bale, the lint losses this year would thus amount to $21,451,000.

But this is nothing when compared with the loss of cotton over the entire South. The year 1949 was the worst since 1927. In that year the weevils cost the Southern cotton farmer the neat sum of $550,000,000. That’s why Mr. Lineberger is asking for a good attendance at the third annual cotton insect control conference to be held in Birmingham, Alabama, on December 19 and 20. He wants to see all the official people concerned with cotton growing and insect control present at that meeting so that unified steps may be taken for a fight on the weevil and other cotton pests. I think he is right and I hope we shall get some definite and easily understood recommendations on which all of us can agree, and then that we shall get ready next spring and try to save our cotton crop.

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