Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/17/2004
Publication Date: 11/17/2004
Citation: Schmidt, N., Oneal, M., Singer, J.W., Kohler, K.A., Prasifka, J.R., Hellmich Ii, R.L. 2004. The effect of perennial cover crops on natural enemy communities in corn and soybean [abstract]. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting. Poster No. D0081.
Technical Abstract: Annual cropping systems are often unfavorable environments for natural enemies due to limited habitat suitability. Cover crops can diversify the agroecosystem, enhancing the survival of natural enemies, and improving their efficiency as pest control agents. To assess the effects of perennial forages, alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum), as cover crops for arthropod natural enemies within corn and soybean, was assessed using a split-plot design, with cover crop as the split factor. Replicated plots (4 replications each, 18 m long and 4 m wide) of corn and soybean were planted within both alfalfa, kura clover and a check without a cover crop. In addition, we included treatments of each forage crop planted alone, for a total of 32 plots. We will monitor the natural enemy community from mid-June to the first hard frost in October, 2004 with pitfall traps and yellow sticky traps; both traps deployed for 72 hours every 4 weeks. From our June samples we observed a response by the natural enemy community that varied by species. In general, carabid abundance was greater in corn/alfalfa than any annual and forage crop planted alone or in combination. However, alfalfa and kura clover planted alone hosted a greater abundance of spiders than when either forage was planted with an annual crop.