Status Update on Fusarium Wilt of Cotton Race 4 in Texas and New Mexico
By Thomas Isakeit, Ph.D.
Extension Plant Pathologist
Department of Plant Pathology
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
College Station, Texas
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A potentially-devastating race of Fusarium wilt of cotton, race 4 (FOV4), previously confined in North America to the San Joaquin Valley of California, was confirmed in the El Paso area in 2017. While it is too early to know whether it will continue to spread to other cotton production areas of the United States, this presentation will discuss what is known about it in far-west Texas. The disease is a serious threat because FOV4 is better adapted to causing disease of cotton than the other Fusarium wilt fungal races. It causes disease without the involvement of nematodes and has activity in soils over a broader pH range. I will discuss how to recognize it and what can be done to manage it. At the very least, I hope to raise awareness of this particular disease in the eastern cotton production community of the United States.