- Agronomic: canola, wheat
- Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, cultural control, integrated pest management
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
The concentration of wheat production in the Northern Great Plains has resulted in the influx of specialized pest complexes threatening its economic and environmental sustainability. Wheat stem sawfly, Fusarium crown rot, and grassy weeds form a multitrophic pest complex whose synergistic impacts on yields and grain quality are a major burden to wheat cropping systems. The increased pressure of herbicide resistant weed biotypes, lack of a viable pesticide for wheat stem sawflies and Fusarium crown rot, and contradictions among some of the current single-pest management recommendations for this pest complex challenge the traditional chemically centered single pest management paradigm. This Graduate Student Grant will integrate replicated field experiments conducted at production farms in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho with simulation models to determine how three easy-to-manage cropping-system variables (stand density, herbicide management approach, and crop variety) may be manipulated to develop holistic multi-pest management strategies and enhance crop yield. In this study we will quantify interactions among these pests and in response to simple control practices, increase the knowledge-base of the ecology supporting a holistic approach and cultural management of this multitrophic pest complex. Results from this study will be utilized to generate an education and extension program that illustrates the benefits in joint management of wheat stem sawfly, Fusarium crown rot, and grassy weeds as well as provide site-specific recommendations based on a predictive simulation model.
Project objectives from proposal:
Quantify interactions among wheat stem sawfly, Fusarium, and grassy weeds in their joint impact on crop yield and in response to simple control practices such as seeding density, herbicide management approach, and crop variety.
Develop a predictive computer model to assess the relative importance of seeding density, herbicide management approach, and crop variety on crop yield and the population dynamics of wheat stem sawfly, Fusarium, and grassy weeds.
Develop and deliver an education and extension program to increase producers’ knowledge base on the ecological basis of multi-pest management strategies.