Few studies compare how different soil fertilization practices affect plant mineral content and insect performance in organic systems. This study examined: 1) The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), larval response on corn (Zea mays L.) grown in field soils with different soil management histories; and 2) resilience of these plants to O. nubilalis herbivory. Treatments included: 1) standard organic--organically managed soil fertilized with dairy manure and 2 yr of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in the rotation; 2) basic cation saturation ratio--organically managed soil fertilized with dairy manure and alfalfa nitrogen credits, plus addition of gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) according to the soil balance hypothesis; and 3) conventional--conventionally managed soil fertilized with synthetic fertilizers. Corn plants were reared to maturity in a greenhouse, and then infested with 0-40 O. nubilalis larvae for 17 d. O. nubilalis exhibited negative competitive response to increasing larval densities. Mean development time was significantly faster for larvae consuming basic cation saturation ratio plants than those on standard organic plants, with intermediate development time on conventional plants. Neither total yield (number of kernels) nor proportion kernels damaged differed among soil fertility treatments. Soil nutrients differed significantly in S and in Ca:Mg and Ca:K ratios, but principal components analysis of plant tissue samples taken before O. nubilalis infestation showed that S, Fe, and Cu contributed most to differences in plant nutrient profiles among soil fertility treatments. Results demonstrate that different fertilization regimens can significantly affect insect performance within the context of organic systems, but the effects in this study were relatively minor compared with effects of intraspecific competition.
The soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is an economically important pest of soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill, in the United States. Phenological information of A. glycines is limited; specifically, little is known about factors guiding migrating aphids and potential impacts of long distance flights on local population dynamics. Increasing our understanding of A. glycines population dynamics may improve predictions of A. glycines outbreaks and improve management efforts. In 2005 a suction trap network was established in seven Midwest states to monitor the occurrence of alates. By 2006, this network expanded to 10 states and consisted of 42 traps. The goal of the STN was to monitor movement of A. glycines from their overwintering host Rhamnus spp. to soybean in spring, movement among soybean fields during summer, and emigration from soybean to Rhamnus in fall. The objective of this study was to infer movement patterns of A. glycines on a regional scale based on trap captures, and determine the suitability of certain statistical methods for future analyses. Overall, alates were not commonly collected in suction traps until June. The most alates were collected during a 3-wk period in the summer (late July to mid-August), followed by the fall, with a peak capture period during the last 2 wk of September. Alate captures were positively correlated with latitude, a pattern consistent with the distribution of Rhamnus in the United States, suggesting that more southern regions are infested by immigrants from the north.
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