Comparison of Pest Management Interactions in Spring Wheat-Cover Crop and Spring Wheat-Fallow Cropping Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1997: $150,964.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2001
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $76,908.00
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Andrew Lenssen
Montana State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: sunflower


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, biological control, chemical control, competition, cultural control, disease vectors, field monitoring/scouting, genetic resistance, integrated pest management, physical control, weed ecology
  • Soil Management: green manures, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization


    [Note to online version: The report for this project includes tables that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact Western SARE at (435) 797-2257 or]

    The ramifications of crop diversification and pest interactions in spring wheat production systems were assessed by determining spatial associations of pest populations and crop response. Utilizing global positioning systems and geographic information systems for three years, insect, disease, and weed populations, nitrate and water in soil, and wheat grain yield and protein were mapped in twenty-two spring wheat fields. Fields of spring wheat produced in diversified rotations had lower levels of wheat stem sawfly, foliar disease, soil water, wheat tiller densities, beneficial and pest arthropods, and wheat grain yield and test weight than spring wheat grown in traditional cereal rotations. Russian thistle and total weed infestations, Fusarium crown rot, soil nitrate, drought stress, and grain protein were higher in wheat in diversified rotations than wheat produced in conventional cereal only rotations. The 1998, 1999, and 2000 crop years were characterized by low precipitation at our research sites, resulting in severe drought stress in spring wheat grown in intensified cropping systems.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.