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Effect of integrated pest management practices on tomato production and conservation of natural enemies

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1 The present study used a crop life table to determine the critical components of production and the key factors of loss in tomato, and three treatments to identify the integrated pest management (IPM) benefits on the reduction of yield losses and the conservation of natural enemies.

2 The relative IPM benefits were compared using calendar-based pesticide applications, IPM and control (no pesticide). A total of 1248 tomato plants were allotted to treatments with four replicates of 104 plants, each in a random block design. The densities of vectors, leaf miners, fruit borers, predators and parasitoids were compared.

3 Fruit was the critical component of production, experiencing the greatest losses, followed by flower and plant in the vegetative phase. The key causes of loss of production were tospoviruses, Erwinia carotovora, Alternaria solani, Phytophthora infestans, Neoleucinodes elegantalis and blossom-end rot.

4 No significant differences in yield were detected between the calendar-based and IPM systems. In the control, the yield was lower than the yield in treatments with pesticides due to losses from fungal diseases and viruses. IPM more efficiently controlled pests than the calendar-system, reducing the number of parathion-methyl and abamectin applications by 3.8- and 2.9-fold, respectively. IPM treatment significantly reduced the impact of pesticides on natural enemies.

5 Tomato yield was more affected by biotic and abiotic factors during the reproductive stage. Because fruit was the production component most susceptible to loss, cultivation and IPM programmess should prioritize practices to reduce loss of this component.

Keywords: Action thresholds; Lycopersicon esculentum; crop life table; crop management; parasitoids; pesticides; predators

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Entomology, 202 Plant Industry Building, University of Nebraska Lincoln, 68503-0816 Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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