Local farmers faces plague of army worms

By: Martha Spencer
By: Martha Spencer

Rainfall has been consistent in one of Thomas Kirkland's fields, but he says rain totals on other fields in Houston County have been widely varied.

“We've probably been averaging an inch a week just about everywhere north of the Dothan airport, south of the Dothan airport its been drier down that away." said Kirkland.

As cotton and peanut crops head into their critical months, rain must stay steady to yield healthy crops.

"Water real critical on our cotton and peanuts we're in the beginning to middle of the fruiting period, and we need probably at least 4 more weeks of at least an inch of rain a week to make a good yield" said Kirkland.

But while showers have been abundant, a new and costly problem has hatched army worms.

Kirkland said, "For some reason they’re worse this year. I don’t know if it was the heat we had early on or the moths have been coming from the south in hear lying eggs."

Army worms as small as pin heads attack the square of the plant, killing what would later become a cotton bulb.

"Last week we had to spray twice in the same week and it cost us about 20 dollars an acre for every time we spray".

While army worms do less damage to peanut crops, without proper pesticides, 30% of a peanut crop can be destroyed by army worms in as little as one week.

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