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Depth Distribution of Rotylenchulus reniformis Under Different Tillage and Crop Sequence Systems

September 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  9
Pages  1,182 - 1,189

A. Westphal and J. R. Smart

First author: Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907; and second author: Integrated Farming and Natural Resources Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Weslaco, TX 78596

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Accepted for publication 25 March 2003.

The population density of the reniform nematode, Rotylenchulus reniformis, was monitored at depths of 0 to 30, 30 to 60, 60 to 90, and 90 to 120 cm in a tillage and crop sequence trial in south Texas in 2000 and 2001. Main plots were subjected to three different tillage systems: conventional tillage (moldboard plowing and disking), ridge tillage, and no-tillage. Subplots were planted with three different crop sequences: spring cotton and fall corn every year; spring cotton and fall corn in one year, followed by corn for two years; and cotton followed by corn and then grain sorghum, one spring crop per year. The population density of R. reniformis on corn and grain sorghum was low throughout the soil profile. In plots planted with spring cotton and fall corn every year, fewer nematodes were found at depths of 60 to 120 cm in the no-tillage and ridge tillage systems than in the conventional tillage system. Population densities were lower at depths of 0 to 60 cm than at 60 to 120 cm. Soil moisture and cotton root length did not affect nematode population densities in the field. When soil was placed in pots and planted with cotton in the greenhouse, lower population densities developed in soil taken from depths of 0 to 60 cm than in soil from depths of 60 to 120 cm. Final nematode populations were similar in size in soil from the different tillage systems, but reproductive factors were higher in soil from plots with reduced-tillage systems than in soil from plots with conventional tillage. Reduced-tillage practices lowered the risk of increases in R. reniformis populations and reduced population densities following 2 years of non-hosts throughout soil depths, but population densities resurged to the same high levels as in soil planted with cotton every year during one season of cotton.

Additional keywords: crop rotation, nematode depth distribution.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society