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Evaluating the Impact of Cover Crop Management Tactics on Arthropods in a Corn System

Gabriela Inveninato Carmona, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Cover crops can attract both pests and beneficial insects. The potential detriment or benefit of these arthropods in a subsequent cash crop varies based on several factors such as cover crop management, weather conditions, and its interactions. To date, limited information is available regarding arthropod risks and benefits from cover crops to the following crop based on cover crop management tactics. To fill this gap, my Ph.D. studies had the objective to 1) conduct a field survey to document risk and impact of wheat stem maggot in a cover crop to corn transition system, and to evaluate pest potential, beneficial arthropod activity, and agronomic parameters based on 2) insecticide application timing relative to the cover crop termination, 3) cover crop planting date and termination timing relative to corn planting, and 4) corn planting dates with at-plant cover crop terminations. Results from the field survey found that the terminating cereal rye or wheat cover crop after corn was planted resulted in an increased risk for wheat stem maggot infestations during early corn stages. Unexpected pest pressure in cover crop systems has led some growers to tank mix an insecticide with an herbicide at cover crop termination to minimize pest transitions. Results from three years of on-farm studies found that an insecticide application at the cover crop termination resulted in a decrease in total arthropods and Aphididae but did not impact any other arthropods. Cultural control strategies such as planting or termination dates were also evaluated. In general, an early-planted cover crop combined with a late termination had the potential to increase predatory arthropods. Lastly, a study comparing early and late corn planting dates combined with an at-plant rye cover crop termination showed that having a cover crop regardless of corn planting dates supported higher Araneae activity when a cover crop was present. Significant corn yield penalties were identified in our studies when cover crop biomass was maximized.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Carmona, Gabriela Inveninato, "Evaluating the Impact of Cover Crop Management Tactics on Arthropods in a Corn System" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI29166709.