Effect of a Terminated Cover Crop and Aldicarb on Cotton Yield and Meloidogyne incognita Population Density

T. A. Wheeler, J. F. Leser, J. W. Keeling, B. Mullinix

Abstract


Terminated small grain cover crops are valuable in light textured soils to reduce wind and rain erosion and for protection of young cotton seedlings. A three-year study was conducted to determine the impact of terminated small grain winter cover crops, which are hosts for Meloidogyne incognita, on cotton yield, root galling and nematode midseason population density. The small plot test consisted of the cover treatment as the main plots (winter fallow, oats, rye and wheat) and rate of aldicarb applied in-furrow at-plant (0, 0.59 and 0.84 kg a.i./ha) as subplots in a split-plot design with eight replications, arranged in a randomized complete block design. Roots of 10 cotton plants per plot were examined at approximately 35 days after planting. Root galling was affected by aldicarb rate (9.1, 3.8 and 3.4 galls/root system for 0, 0.59 and 0.84 kg aldicarb/ha), but not by cover crop. Soil samples were collected in mid-July and assayed for nematodes. The winter fallow plots had a lower density of M. incognita second-stage juveniles (J2) (transformed to Log10 (J2 + 1)/500 cm3 soil) than any of the cover crops (0.88, 1.58, 1.67 and 1.75 Log10(J2 + 1)/500 cm3 soil for winter fallow, oats, rye and wheat, respectively). There were also fewer M. incognita eggs at midseason in the winter fallow (3,512, 7,953, 8,262 and 11,392 eggs/500 cm3 soil for winter fallow, oats, rye and wheat, respectively). Yield (kg lint per ha) was increased by application of aldicarb (1,544, 1,710 and 1,697 for 0, 0.59 and 0.84 kg aldicarb/ha), but not by any cover crop treatments. These results were consistent over three years. The soil temperature at 15 cm depth, from when soils reached 18°C to termination of the grass cover crop, averaged 9,588, 7,274 and 1,639 centigrade hours (with a minimum threshold of 10°C), in 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively. Under these conditions, potential reproduction of M. incognita on the cover crop did not result in a yield penalty.

Keywords


Aldicarb; conservation tillage; cotton; Gossypium hirsutum; Meloidogyne incognita; root-knot nematode

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