The influence of crop rotation and management intensity on abundance, diversity, and function of predatory arthropods in farming systems

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
Andrew Aschwanden , Department of Entomology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Maggie Douglas , Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Heather Karsten , Department of Plant Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, Univeristy Park, PA
John Tooker , Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Crop rotation is a common tactic used to manage insect pests.  Switching crops yearlycan prevent pest populations from developing, but also holds potential to help generateabundant and diverse populations of natural enemies if the crop rotation is sufficiently diverse. As part of an ongoing integrated dairy cropping systems project, we determined how rotation, including cover crops, and management practices influence the abundance and diversity of ground beetles, an important family of natural enemies. We assessed the activity of ground beetles (and other predators) by way of pitfall trapping and sentinel prey.  Our results indicate that more diverse rotations that rely on integrated pest management rather than preventative insect management tactics harbor better populations of natural enemies, better rates of predation, and lower populations of herbivorous pests. Our results can be used to encourage farmers to generate more diverse rotations that will be more resilient in the face of pest populations, improving crop sustainability.
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