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Published on May 7, 2014
Alberto Calderon is an agricultural technician who works in a program assisting Integrated Production Groups (IPG) of cotton farmers in using more sustainable farming methods. The program includes plant and soil analyses to determine the needed amount of additional nutritions. The standards regarding fertilizer application are considered. The current management allows for quicker opening of the cotton capsules and reduces attacks by Lepidopteran larva, the crop's primary infestation. These larvae are less attracted to hardened vegetable tissues. For infestation control it is required that non-chemical methods be used whenever possible. The average treatments with pesticides per season dropped from 6.5 to 2.5. Also, new and more effective methods have been developed to control caterpillars, but have less impact on auxiliary and pollinating insects. Furthermore, the use of Bacillus thuringiensis is being expanded to a greater cultivated surface area. Alberto Calderon sees this integrated production as a step towards growing cotton without chemicals. During the program a 30% reduction of irrigation water has been reached and fertilization has on average been reduced by 40%. These reductions have made crops evolve towards greater environmental sustainability, controlling vegetative growth of the plant.