DEVELOPING INTEGRATED WEED AND INSECT PEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR EFFICIENT AND SUSTAINABLE SUGARCANE PRODUCTION
Project Number: 6410-22000-012-00
Start Date: May 17, 2005
End Date: May 16, 2010
Develop new and modify existing production-year strategies for integrated and sustainable weed and insect management in sugarcane to: 1) determine the degree of weed control that current and alternative cultural and mechanical controls afford, weed species that are most susceptible, and conditions that affect efficacy; 2)evaluate and provide efficacy data on new chemistries for selective control of weeds and determine compatibility of new herbicides with currently used herbicidal practices; 3) identify and evaluate a biological control agent for controlling season-long infestations of the SCB; and 4) identify new sources of SCB resistance within a population of Saccharum spontaneum. Measure the long-term impact of changing agronomic and harvesting practices on weed and insect pest development during a 4-year sugarcane cropping cycle to: 1) measure the impact of changing agronomic practices on bermudagrass and johnsongrass development and their competitiveness with sugarcane during a 4-year crop cycle and identify synergistic practices that result in optimum weed control and crop yield; and 2) measure the effects of soil health, fertilizer, moisture, ground cover, and other sugarcane production practices on insect pests and their natural enemies.
Field evaluations will be conducted to evaluate new and/or modify existing production-year strategies to include cultivation frequencies, herbicide application timings and placement, and the utilization of post-harvest crop residue blankets for the management of itchgrass, johnsongrass, and morningglory within a sugarcane crop. Synergistic practices will be identified and subjected to further testing. In addition, the efficacy of high-unit activity herbicides in controlling these weeds will be evaluated as new herbicides become available in an attempt to add additional tools to effectively manage weeds. Separate studies will be conducted to evaluate the long-term (4 to 5-year crop cycle) effects of adopting these practices on crop yield and weed development. In an attempt to lessen the industry’s dependence on insecticides for the control of the sugarcane borer, studies will be conducted to evaluate Cotesia flavipes as a biological control agent for controlling season-long infestations of the sugarcane borer; to identify and develop germplasm with increased resistance to the sugarcane borer, and to assess the effects of sugarcane planting date, soil fertility levels, and post-harvest residue blankets on the population of the sugarcane borer and foraging predators to include the red imported fire ant.