Impact of No-till Cover Cropping of Italian Ryegrass on Above and Below Ground Faunal Communities Inhabiting a Soybean Field with Emphasis on Soybean Cyst Nematodes

Cerruti R. R. Hooks, Koon-Hui Wang, Susan L. F. Meyer, Mariam Lekveishvili, Jermaine Hinds, Emily Zobel, Armando Rosario-Lebron, Mason Lee-Bullock

Abstract


Two field trials were conducted between 2008 and 2010 in Maryland to evaluate the ability of an Italian ryegrass (IR) (Lolium multiflorum) cover crop to reduce populations of plant-parasitic nematodes while enhancing beneficial nematodes, soil mites and arthropods in the foliage of a no-till soybean (Glycine max) planting. Preplant treatments were: 1) previous year soybean stubble (SBS); and 2) herbicide-killed IR cover crop + previous year soybean stubble (referred to as IR). Heterodera glycines population densities were very low and no significant difference in population densities of H. glycines or Pratylenchus spp. were observed between IR and SBS. Planting of IR increased abundance of bacterivorous nematodes in 2009. A reverse trend was observed in 2010 where SBS had higher abundance of bacterivorous nematodes and nematode richness at the end of the cover cropping period. Italian ryegrass also did not affect insect pests on soybean foliage. However, greater populations of spiders were found on soybean foliage in IR treatments during both field trials. Potential causes of these findings are discussed.

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