Effects of Harvest Residue and Tillage on Lesser Cornstalk Borer (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) Damage to Sugarcane

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Lesser cornstalk borer, Elasmopalpus lignosellus (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) is an important pest of sugarcane (a complex hybrid of Saccharum spp.) in southern Florida. Cultural controls for E. lignosellus were evaluated in preparation for the potential loss of effective insecticides. Field studies conducted in 2006 compared the effects of harvest residues from green-harvested sugarcane (no preharvest burning to remove leaf matter) on E. lignosellus stalk damage and yield. Damage by E. lignosellus was significantly lower in plant cane plots that were covered with harvest residues collected from a green-harvested field before shoot emergence compared with plots without harvest residue. There were no yield differences between plots with and without harvest residues in plant or ratoon sugarcane fields in the 2006 study. The effects of three postharvest tillage levels (conventional, intermediate, and no tillage) were evaluated in preharvest burned and green-harvested fields in 2008 and 2009. Significantly less E. lignosellus damage was observed in the green- versus preharvest burned fields in both years. Intermediate and no-tillage plots had very little damage in green-harvested field. Conventional tillage plots had the greatest damage in the green-harvested field and the lowest damage in the preharvest burned field. In 2008, biomass yield was greater in the intermediate than conventional tillage in the green-harvested field, but it was greater in the conventional than in other tillage levels in the preharvest burned field. These studies demonstrated that cultural controls could greatly reduce E. lignosellus damage in sugarcane without the use of insecticides.

Keywords: burnt cane; green cane; lesser cornstalk borer; sugarcane; tillage

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC10212

Publication date: February 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • 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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