Soil management effects on entomopathogenic fungi during the transition to organic agriculture in a feed grain rotation

Randa Jabbour, Mary Ellen Barbercheck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The growing demand for organic products creates opportunities for farmers. Information on the consequences of management practices can help farmers transition to organic and take advantage of these prospects. We examined the interaction between soil disturbance and initial cover crop on naturally occurring entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) during the 3-year transition to organic production in a feed grain rotation in central Pennsylvania. Our experiment included four systems comprised of a factorial combination of two levels of primary tillage (full vs. reduced) and two types of initial cover crop (timothy/clover vs. rye/vetch). The cropping sequence consisted of an initial cover crop, followed by soybean, and finally, maize. The entire experiment was replicated in time, with the initiation lagged by 1 year. We detected four species of EPF (Metarhizium anisopliae, Beauveria bassiana, Isaria fumosorosea, and Isaria farinosa) by bioassay of soil samples collected four times during each field season. The latter three species were detected infrequently; therefore, we focused statistical analysis on M. anisopliae. Detection of M. anisopliae varied across sampling date, year in crop sequence, and experimental start, with no consistent trend across the 3-year transition period. M. anisopliae was isolated more frequently in the systems initiated with timothy/clover cover crops and utilizing full tillage; however, we only observed a tillage effect in one temporal replicate. M. anisopliae detection was negatively associated with soil moisture, organic matter, and zinc, sulfur, and copper concentrations in the soil. This study helps to inform farmers about management effects on soil function, specifically conservation biological control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-443
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Control
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

Fingerprint

feed grains
Metarhizium anisopliae
entomopathogenic fungi
soil management
organic production
cover crops
tillage
cropping sequence
farmers
Isaria farinosa
Isaria fumosorosea
soil
Vicia
Beauveria bassiana
rye
sulfur
biological control
soil organic matter
statistical analysis
soil sampling

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

Cite this

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Soil management effects on entomopathogenic fungi during the transition to organic agriculture in a feed grain rotation. / Jabbour, Randa; Barbercheck, Mary Ellen.

In: Biological Control, Vol. 51, No. 3, 01.12.2009, p. 435-443.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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