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Methods

How the Cleaner Cotton™ Field Program Works


Photo Credit: Karina Corbett Photography

In the Field
• The Sustainable Cotton Project (SCP) provides technical support in the field for growers to implement Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices on their cotton.

• Our SCP field scout monitors every field in the program weekly, giving growers a written report on the condition of their crop, observations about pest and beneficial insect populations, beneficial insect habitats and any areas of concern.


Photo Credit: Karina Corbett Photography

• Many of our growers have cotton fields next to alfalfa, which attracts lygus, one of the main cotton pests. SCP promotes leaving uncut strips of alfalfa to keep lygus from migrating into the neighboring cotton fields.

• Cleaner Cotton™ growers plant habitats on the edges of their fields to attract and hold naturally occurring beneficial insect to create an in-field insectary. This establishes ™a complex population of beneficial insects to prey on pest insects, serving a natural pest control vehicle. The habitat also serves as a trap-crop, keeping pest pressure out of the cotton fields.

• Releasing beneficial insects such as lacewings and predatory mites augment naturally occurring beneficial insects and provides another tool to help reduce the use of pesticides.

Outreach and Education
• SCP sponsors informational meetings and field days several times a year to provide support for growers, offer important updates on project activities and allow mentor farmers to answer questions about biologically based farming.

• Our program compiles weekly field monitoring results for all enrolled fields and distributes a "field notes" blog weekly to Cleaner Cotton™ growers. Growers can compare their fields with their neighbor's and see how conditions vary in the surrounding area.