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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #384532

Research Project: New Crop Production and Protection Practices to Increase Sugarcane Ratoon Longevity and Maximize Economic Sustainability

Location: Sugarcane Research

Title: The influence of nitrogen fertilization on infestations of the sugarcane borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in Louisiana

item WILSON, BLAKE - LSU Agcenter
item Penn, Hannah

Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/4/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Nitrogen content of plant tissues is a key factor influencing the development and reproduction of insect herbivores. Thus, nitrogen management during crop production often affects infestations of insect pests. The impact of nitrogen management in sugarcane on the primary economic pest in Louisiana, the sugarcane borer (Diatraea saccharalis), has not previously been studied. Sugarcane borer infestations were compared across four rates of nitrogen fertilization (0, 50, 100, and 200 lbs/acre) in four separate field trials in 2017 and 2020. Trials in 2017 were conducted with commercial cultivars HoCP 96-540 and HoCP 09-804 at the LSU AgCenter Sugar Research Station (St. Gabriel, LA) and the USDA-ARS Sugar Research Unit Ardoyne Farm (Schriever, LA), respectively. Trials in 2020 were conducted at the same two locations using a split-plot design with cultivars HoCP 96-540 or L 01-299 applied to the main plots and nitrogen treatments applied to sub-plots. In all trials, the percentage of bored internodes and adult emergence per stalk increased with increasing levels of nitrogen fertilization. In 2020, the same injury parameters were greater in HoCP 96-540 than in L 01-299. Relative survival (the proportion of emergence holes to bored internodes) was reduced in unfertilized plots relative to fertilized treatments in 2017, but differences among treatments were not detected in 2020. In 2017, stalk weight increased with increasing N rates, but did not differ between 100 and 200 lbs. Similarly, in 2020, sugarcane tonnage and sugar per acre increased with increasing nitrogen but did not differ between 100 and 200 lbs. Collectively, results demonstrate that nitrogen fertilization influences D. saccharalis infestations in the field. Excessive fertilization can increase susceptibility to D. saccharalis without any benefits to sugar yield. Future research aims to examine influences of nitrogen content on D. saccharalis host preference, larval development, and reproductive potential.