Crop management effects on root and crown rot of wheat in West-Central Saskatchewan, Canada.

Fernandez, M.R., Ulrich, D.J., Brandt, K., Zentner, R.P., Wang, H., Thomas, A.G., and Olfert, O.O. (2011). "Crop management effects on root and crown rot of wheat in West-Central Saskatchewan, Canada.", Agronomy Journal, 103(3), pp. 756-765. doi : 10.2134/agronj2010.0190  Access to full text

Abstract

The impact of cropping system management on root and crown rot of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was examined on a Dark Brown Chernozem (Typic Boroll) soil in the Canadian Prairies. This systems approach tried to reflect the most common practices of organic and conventional producers in this region. The study consisted of a factorial combination of three input levels (high, with tillage, fertilizer and pesticides; reduced [RED], with conservation tillage, targeted fertilizer and weed control; and organic [ORG] with tillage and N-fixing legumes); and three levels of cropping diversity (low diversity with wheat and summerfallow or legume green manure fallow; diversified using annual grain crops; and diversified using annual grain crops and perennial forages). All rotations were 6 yr long. Subcrown internodes and crowns/lower culms of wheat plants were scored for discoloration, and fungi in discolored tissue were identified and quantified. Overall, input level had a greater impact on disease levels and fungal frequency than cropping diversity. Discoloration severity was lowest in the RED systems, which was attributed to lower percentage isolation of Cochliobolus sativus, the most common pathogen. Fusarium species varied with input level. The pathogens F. avenaceum and F. culmorum were most associated with RED and/or least associated with ORG systems, whereas the weak pathogen/saprophyte F. equiseti was most associated with ORG systems. Thus, ORG management helped to reduce populations of F. avenaceum and F. culmorum, two of the most important Fusarium pathogens in the Canadian Prairies.

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