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September 29, 2017

Cotton-Free Period in Mato Grosso will start October 1st

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The state of Mato Grosso is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil and farmers in the state have completed the 2017 cotton harvest. The next cotton crop will be planted starting in December, so between now and then, the state will be in a cotton-free period during which all live cotton plants must be eliminated by landowners or they may face fines.

This program is identical to the soybean-free program that has been in place for many years all across Brazil. These programs have been put in place to help reduce the spread of pests and diseases from one growing season to the next. In the case of soybeans, the objective is to help control the spread of soybean rust and for cotton, the objective is to help control the spread of boll weevils.

The vast majority of Brazil does not experience "winter" in a traditional sense and the lack of cold temperatures allows pests and diseases to persist from one growing season to the next. The "winter" in Brazil is basically the dry season when temperatures are warm, but the weather is dry. So instead of relying on cold temperatures to keep the pests in check between growing seasons, the idea is to eliminate as best as possible any "green points" as they are called that could harbor the pests or disease.

The state of Mato Grosso has been divided into two zones for the cotton-free program. Zone One consists of central, east-central, and southeastern parts of the state including such municipalities as Campo Verde, Primavera do Leste, and Rondonopolis. In this zone, the cotton-free period will start on October 1st and end on November 30th.

Zone Two consists of northern and northwestern parts of the state including such municipalities as Lucas do Rio Verde, Sorriso, Campo Novo do Parecis and Sapezal. In Zone Two, the cotton free period will start on October 15th and end on December 14th

During these periods, land owners must eliminate any volunteer cotton plants that may have germinated in the field, alongside of the field, or around storage or transportation facilities. Any cotton plant with more than three branches or with flowers is considered phytosanitary risk.

At the end of August, 47 inspectors from the Plant and Animal Protection Bureau of Mato Grosso (Indea-MT) participated in a day of training along with scientists so that they could be recertified for this year's program. Teams of inspectors will be in Zone One starting October 1st looking for any live cotton plants. If the inspectors find live plants, the landowner will be notified and given a period of time to eliminate the plants. If the plants are not eliminated within the allotted time, the landowner could face hefty fines.

Both the cotton-free program and the soybean-free program are the results of agreement between producers, researchers, and state officials such as the Plant and Animal Protection Bureaus of individual states as a way to help control pests and diseases.