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18 March 2023 Evaluating the impact of at-plant termination of a cereal rye cover crop with different corn planting dates on arthropod activity
Gabriela Inveninato Carmona, Anthony Justin McMechan
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Greater cover crop biomass is expected to result in a favorable microhabitat for beneficial arthropods. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cover crop termination guidelines are based on the cash crop planting date. Therefore, a delay in cash crop planting could result in greater cover crop biomass. However, studies on delays in cash crop planting and greater cover crop biomass have led to a decrease in cash crop yield. Thus, a field study was conducted in eastern Nebraska over two years to evaluate the impact of early and late corn planting dates with at-plant cover crop terminations on pest potential, beneficial arthropod activity, and agronomic parameters. To measure arthropod activity and pests in the system, pitfall traps, and corn injury assessments were performed during the early stages of corn development. A total of 11,054 and 43,078 arthropods were collected in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The results have shown no impact of the corn planting dates with at-plant cover crop termination on arthropods but identified that cereal rye cover crop supports greater Araneae activity while its alternative prey varied when compared to the no-cover treatment. Significant yield penalties were observed when cover crop was used regardless of the corn planting dates. Pest pressure was not significant in any year, however, future research using cereal rye and different cover crop species should be used in this system with an artificial infestation of a pest to be able to evaluate the trade-offs between possible cash crop yield reductions and potential biological control of pests.

Gabriela Inveninato Carmona and Anthony Justin McMechan "Evaluating the impact of at-plant termination of a cereal rye cover crop with different corn planting dates on arthropod activity," Environmental Entomology 52(3), 371-378, (18 March 2023).
Received: 20 October 2022; Accepted: 27 February 2023; Published: 18 March 2023

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