Plains Cotton Growers warn farmers to check source on seed

Plains Cotton Growers warn farmers to check source on seed
Cotton harvest yielding good crop.

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - As planting season gets underway for cotton farmers across the South Plains, one agency is warning farmers to make sure they know the source of the seed they are planting.

Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers posted an alert on Friday warning farmers that are planting Pima cotton to check where the seed originates from.

PCG says they posted the alert to warn against a fungus that has started to appear in fields in other growing regions of Texas. “Producers deal with a variety of potential threats,” explained Shawn Wade, co-author of the warning.

The fungus, known as FOV4, was first detected in California in the early 2000s. It has been spotted in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties.

Wade says the concern on FOV4 is the lack of ways to currently fight it. “It’s a different race of fungus than what we see in our soil... there’s no way to combat it once it gets established in a field.”

The draw to Pima is understandable, says Wade. The cotton is known to have longer fibers and is used in premium sheets and clothing. And generally the variety brings a higher price per acre than Upland cotton, the variety traditionally grown along the South Plains.

There are also no varieties of Upland cotton that are resistant to FOV4.

Wade says PCG isn’t trying to dissuade anyone from planting Pima cotton, but wants farmers that do bring it in to understand the impact on the region if the seed isn’t checked for the fungus. “Once it gets established here, it’s something we’ll have to learn to live with for many years.”

PCG’s warning ends with the summarization that farmers need to verify the source of their cotton seed before planting. To read the full alert, click here.

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