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Integrating the building blocks of agronomy and biocontrol into an IPM strategy for wheat stem sawfly.

Beres, B.L., Cárcamo, H.A., Weaver, D.K., Dosdall, L.M., Evenden, M.L., Hill, B.D., Yang, R.-C., McKenzie, R.H., and Spaner, D.M. (2011). "Integrating the building blocks of agronomy and biocontrol into an IPM strategy for wheat stem sawfly.", Prairie Soils and Crops, 4, pp. 54-65.


The wheat stem sawfly (Cephus cinctus Norton [Hymenoptera: Cephidae]) is a serious threat to wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and other cereal grains in the northern Great Plains. Insecticides have proven ineffective for sawfly control and can be detrimental to beneficial insects. The management of wheat stem sawfly, therefore, requires the integration of host plant resistance, agronomic and biological control strategies. Recent studies in Alberta, Canada have assessed the response of wheat stem sawfly and its natural enemies to cultivar selection, residue management, seeding rates, fertility regimes, and harvest management. Solid-stemmed cultivars are usually agronomically superior to susceptible cultivars when sawflies are present. The stubble disturbance associated with residue management and direct-seeding in a continuous cropping system can reduce sawfly populations compared to a wheat-fallow system. Increased seeding rates can optimize yield, but an inverse, negative relationship between pith expression (stem solidness) and higher seeding rates may occur. Positive yield responses are typically observed with N rates > 30 kg N ha-1, but increased insect stem cutting by sawfly can occur with higher N rates. Increasing cutter bar heights during combine harvest can conserve natural enemies, and chopping straw for improved residue management in the spring will not likely affect wheat stem sawfly parasitoids that overwinter in the straw. In summary, an integrated strategy to manage wheat stem sawfly consists of diligent pest surveillance, planting solid-stemmed cultivars, continuous cropping with appropriate pre-seed residue management, seeding rates no greater than 300 seeds m-2, 30 to 60 kg N ha-1, and harvest cutting heights of at least 15 cm to conserve parasitoids.

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