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Bioeconomics of the Alfalfa Snout Beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

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Microplot and small-plot field studies were conducted during 1988 to quantify relationships between density of alfalfa snout beetle, Otiorhynchus ligustici (L.), and alfalfa yield and quality. Cumulative dry matter yield of single plants declined as a linear function of absolute larval density at the end of the growing season. Plant stands tolerated pest presence without yield loss unless density exceeded 12.9 beetles/m2 or 150.7 beetle-days/m2. Thereafter, alfalfa yield declined as a quadratic function of beetle density but offsetting increases in stand weediness maintained total forage production (weeds + alfalfa) at constant levels. Alfalfa nutritional quality and economic value were unaffected by pest damage. Within season stand losses were 19.7 to 22.4% in plots with 20 and 25 beetles/m.. Stand winter kill was signi.ficantrygreater at low to moderate pest densities compared with severe densities. A general formula was derived to compute economic injury levels (ElLs) for crops characterized by tolerant responses to injury. ElL s expressed as absolute pest density and pest days ranged from 15.2 to 21.6 beetles/m' and 194 to 227 beetle-days/m', respectively, depending on assumptions about management costs, for age market value, and control efficacy. Practical implementation of the economic injury levels and underlying assumptions are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1990

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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