PEST BIOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Project Number: 5447-21220-003-00
Start Date: Sep 01, 2005
End Date: Aug 31, 2010
The therapeutic approach of killing pest organisms with toxic chemicals has been the prevailing pest control strategy for over 50 years. Safety problems and ecological disruptions continue to ensue, and there are renewed appeals for effective, safe, and economically acceptable alternatives. The overall objectives of this project are to conduct research on the basic biology and ecology of weeds and insect pests and beneficial insects in corn/soybean/wheat production systems and to develop integrated pest management systems and decision aids. Our specific objectives are to: 1) investigate the behavior and genetics underlying the resistance of corn rootworms to pest management tactics and develop novel pest management technologies for northern and western corn rootworms; 2) reduce emerging weed and insect problems in corn/soybean and corn/soybean/wheat rotations; and 3) develop and evaluate cultural, biological control and host plant resistance management tactics for emerging and invasive insect pests of soybean. Attaining the objectives as outlined above will provide farmers with new and refined methods of pest and crop management for improved crop productivity and quality.
Our interdisciplinary research brings emerging technological advances and integrated pest management practices together to develop short- and long-term pest management strategies for sustainable agriculture. Our approaches are to characterize the ecology, behavior, and genetics of insect and weed pests in agricultural systems of the northern Great Plains as a basis to: 1) develop and evaluate resistance management and pest control strategies; 2) determine pest-crop interactions and pest-landscape relationships to develop sampling/monitoring technology; 3) optimize management tactics; 4) assess yield loss potential; 5) establish action thresholds; 6) define management zones; 7) develop risk assessment models; and 8) improve understanding of the interactions between pest and beneficial insects and impacts of agronomic practices on beneficial insects in corn/soybean/wheat cropping systems. Benefits potentially derived from this research include reduced chemical usage, improved crop production efficiency, better cultural control options for pest management, and the development of integrated pest management systems based upon a better understanding of pest biology and ecology.