cotton insect

Alabama 2020 Cotton Insect Losses Report

Dan Alabama, Cotton, Pest/Pest Control

cotton insect
Corn earworm on an immature cotton boll.
USDA/ARS photo

This week, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (ACES) released the 2020 Alabama Cotton Insect Losses Report. This report provides information about the causes and percentages of cotton crop losses due to insects.

The report has been published since 1979 by Extension entomologists across the Cotton Belt, as estimates are based on Extension entomologists’ observations and informal surveys of other Extension personnel, growers, crop consultants, and industry professionals, who are involved in cotton production.

Based on reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA), Alabama planted 444,948 acres of cotton in 2020. Statewide, the projected yield potential of the crop was 1,157 pounds per acre, with a projected actual average yield of 850 pounds per acre. Approximately 29.3 percent of yield lost from the crop’s potential was due to weather such as drought and hurricanes.


Insect pests caused an estimated 3.33 percent yield loss in Alabama cotton fields, as growers made almost four insecticide applications per acre, with an average cost of just over $8.00 per application. According to the USDA Cotton Varieties Planted 2020 Crop report, 100 percent of the cotton acres planted in Alabama had two or three Bt technologies. 97 percent of cotton in the state is scouted by private crop consultants, industry agrifield representatives, or Extension-trained scouts and growers, with an average scouting fee cost per acre of $8.23. A total of 85 percent of the acres treated were sprayed with a ground rig and the remaining 15 percent sprayed by plane.

For a direct link to see all of the numbers in this year’s report, click here.