Measuring the effect of nitrogen fertilization on Mexican rice borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) injury in bioenergy sorghum

Monday, March 3, 2014
Embassy Ballroom Prefunction (Embassy Suites Greenville Golf & Conference Center)
Matthew T. VanWeelden , Department of Entomology, LSU AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA
Blake Wilson , Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA
Julien M. Beuzelin , Dean Lee Research Station, LSU AgCenter, Alexandria, LA
T.E. Reagan , Department of Entomology, Louisiana State Univeristy, Baton Rouge, LA
MO. Way , Texas AGRILife Research Center at Beaumont, Texas A&M University, Beaumont, TX
The Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar), is a significant pest of sugarcane, rice, sorghum, and corn, but also threatens initiatives to expand production of bioenergy crops in the Gulf Coast region.  A study was conducted in 2013 in Jefferson County, Texas to evaluate the effect of nitrogen fertilization on injury to three varieties of sorghum with potential for biofuel production (ES 5200, ES 5140, and M81E).  Four rates of nitrogen (0, 40, 80, 120 lbs N/Acre) were subjected to each sorghum variety in a replicated small-plot field experiment.  Differences were detected in the percentage of bored internodes across nitrogen rates, with injury increasing from 2.9 to 8.4% bored internodes across all varieties when nitrogen rates were increased from 0 to 120 lbs N/Acre.  Adult emergence was substantially higher in plots with 120 lbs N/Acre for both ES 5200 and ES 5140, however this trend was not evident in M81E.  Wet weight per stalk was significantly greater at higher nitrogen rates, increasing 1.6-fold when nitrogen rates were increased from 0 to120 lbs N/Acre.  This research suggests that the level of nitrogen fertilization impacts both injury and yield losses attributed to E. loftini in bioenergy sorghum.