Barley residue and herbicide management practices: Effects on insects and weeds in soybean

Monday, November 17, 2014: 8:36 AM
E145 (Oregon Convention Center)
Armando Rosario-Lebron , Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Guihua Chen , University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Cerruti Hooks , Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Cover cropping has long been used as a method of reducing soil erosion, increasing soil quality and suppressing weeds. From a sustainability perspective, cover crops provide us with tools to manipulate agricultural systems. They may modify subsequent populations of weeds and arthropods, affect soil moisture and fertility, and ultimately crop yield. In addition, their use can have a direct influence on surrounding ecosystem diversity and health. However, the exact effects of cover crops in local farming systems is varied and can be affected by timing of cover crop termination and the method used to terminate the cover crop. Previous work suggests that the effects can vary from enhancing crop productivity to having no effect at all. Therefore, research in specific systems is needed to fine tune and maximize potential benefits of cover crops as a tool for increasing agricultural productivity and sustainability.This work examined the effect of resulting weed communities and crop residues on insect populations within soybean fields using several commonly practiced barley cover crop termination methods. Our results find that when cover crops are terminated as late as possible spider populations rise and plant sucking insect populations drop significantly. These preliminary results pave the way for future recommendations to growers on the best practices that will provide the maximum benefits of cover crop usage.