JEFFERSON CITY -- The Missouri Department of Agriculture, at the request of the Missouri Cotton Growers Organization, has waived the late stalk destruction fee for the 2006 cotton crop in the state.
Extremely wet conditions delayed the cotton harvest in parts of the state and have prevented timely stalk destruction in many areas. Stalk destruction eliminates hibernation sites and any potential food sources that may be available to pests.
"We are waiving these fees to help some of our producers recover from very wet weather conditions that occurred in 2006," said Fred Ferrell, director of MDA. "Although parts of our state experienced a drought last year, the Bootheel area received over 19 inches of rain making it the fourth wettest season on record since 1895."
The Missouri Cotton Growers Organization board members and the Southeastern Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation made a request to MDA to waive the late fee after recognizing the extraordinary weather conditions.
"We don't foresee changing weather conditions that could bring dry conditions any time soon, but we are asking producers to destroy stalks as soon as their field conditions permit," said Ferrell.
Cotton stalk destruction is normally mandated for Feb. 1 each year by regulations adopted by MDA under the Missouri 's Boll Weevil Eradication Program. Waiver applications for this year's stalk destruction are available by calling (573) 526-9548 or by contacting the Southeastern Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation at (573) 276-4553.