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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED WATER, NUTRIENT AND PEST MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR SUBTROPICAL CROPS Title: Beneficial and detrimental interactions between weeds and other pests of sugarcane

Author
item Showler, Allan

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 18, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Weeds are usually viewed as being detrimental to crop production, but they also increase plant species diversity which can enhance ecological stability. This review examines what is known about weed interactions with other organisms in sugarcane fields, including plant diseases, arthropods, and the crop itself. Three economically important stalkboring lepidopteran pests of sugarcane have received the most attention for their interactions with weeds: the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.), and the Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar), and the eldana borer, Eldana saccharina Walker. Sugarcane borer interactions with weeds involves promoting predator activity. Mexican rice borer and eldana borer interactions with weeds and other crops occur on a larger, agricultural landscape scale, whereby plant diversity can increase the spread and degree of infestation. Weed interactions with pests are also discussed in terms of tactics for use in integrated pest management strategies.

Technical Abstract: Although weeds are commonly regarded as being negative influences on crop production, they also contribute toward vegetational diversity in agroecosystems which generally promotes food web stability. Di- and polyculture crop systems have been shown to reduce populations and injury inflected by many crop pests, and weeds have been shown to induce similar effects. Sugarcane, being a perennial plant, offers an illustrative example for the effects of weed communities in and around the field, and sugarcane is arguably one of the most widely studied crops in terms of its relationships with weeds. This review examines what is known about weed interactions with other biotic compartments of sugarcane agroecosystems, including nematodes, plant pathogens, arthropod communities, and the crop itself. Three economically important stalkboring lepidopteran pests of sugarcane, in particular, have received the most attention: the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.), and the Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar), and the eldana borer, Eldana saccharina Walker. Diatraea saccharalis interactions with weeds involve enhanced populations of predators, especially the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. Eoreuma loftini and E. saccharina associations with weeds and other crops occur more on a agricultural landscape scale, wherein plant diversification can exacerbate the spread and degree of infestation. Weed interactions with pests are discussed in terms of tactics for use in integrated pest management strategies.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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