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Do interactions between residue management and direct seeding system affect wheat stem sawfly and grain yield?

Beres, B.L., Cárcamo, H.A., Dosdall, L.M., Yang, R.C., Evenden, M.L., Spaner, D.M. (2011). Do interactions between residue management and direct seeding system affect wheat stem sawfly and grain yield?, 103(6), 1635-1644. http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/agronj2011.0055

Abstract

Most semiarid regions of the northern Great Plains are prone to wheat stem sawfly (Hymenoptera: Cephidae, Cephus cinctus Norton) attack. As an alternative to the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-fallow system, our objective was to determine if continuous cropping infested wheat stubble would inhibit wheat stem sawfly (WSS) emergence. Adult sawfl y emergence from undisturbed stubble was compared to stubble harrowed with heavy tine or rotary drum harrows before recropping. Adult emergence from a control of "no recropping" was compared to direct seeding infested stubble with (i) air drills configured with knife-type openers spaced 23 or 30 cm apart, (ii) an air drill configured with high disturbance shovel-type sweep openers, and (iii) a low disturbance air drill equipped with disc openers. Pre-seed heavy tine harrowing reduced adult sawfly emergence but usually required a high tension setting. No-till planting into infested spring wheat stubble also lowered WSS emergence compared to leaving the field fallow. A system of heavy tine harrows and an air drill equipped with knife openers spaced 30 cm apart reduced WSS adult emergence in spring by 50 to 70%. Grain yield was optimized in spring wheat with air drills equipped with narrow knife openers; in winter wheat optimal yield was obtained with the low disturbance disc drill configurations. Our results indicate incremental benefits from continuous cropping rather than fallowing fields infested with WSS, which is a sustainable alternative to conventional tillage. A systems approach is recommended that integrates these practices with diversified nonhost crop phases and resistant cultivars. © 2011 by the American Society of Agronomy.

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