The cultural practice of rotating corn, Zea mays L., with soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill, to manage larval injury by the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, was used extensively throughout east central Illinois and northern Indiana until the mid-1990s. The effectiveness of this management tactic diminished due to a shift in the ovipositional behavior of the western corn rootworm. The variant western corn rootworm has since spread as far as northwestern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, southern Michigan, and eastern Ohio. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of four cropping systems on adult and egg densities of the western corn rootworm and to quantify the level of root injury in rotated corn after each system. The four cropping systems used included: 1) corn; 2) soybean; 3) double-cropped winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L., followed by soybean; and 4) winter wheat. Research trials were conducted near Monmouth (northwestern), DeKalb (northern), and Urbana (east central), IL, during 2003 and 2004. Results indicated variant western corn rootworm adults can be found in all four treatments at each location and consequently no crop was immune to oviposition or root injury by corn rootworm larvae in rotated corn the following season. Adults were found primarily in corn and soybean, whereas egg densities were greatest in corn plots in all three locations in both years of the study. Root injury by larvae was most abundant in corn following corn at all three sites. Of the four systems evaluated, the use of wheat demonstrated the most potential for preventing yield reducing levels of root injury in rotated corn.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5