, Volume 197, Issue 1, pp 149-155

Effects of wheat volunteers and blackgrass in set-aside following a winter wheat crop on soil infectivity and soil conduciveness to take-all

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Abstract

Two experiments were carried out in France in which disease indices were used to evaluate the effects of wheat volunteers and blackgrass (Alopecurus myosuroides) on soil infectivity and soil conduciveness to take-all caused by Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici. Soil infectivity was evaluated by measuring the disease index on susceptible wheat plants grown on soil samples collected from the field. Soil conduciveness to the disease was obtained by measuring disease indices on plants grown on soil samples to which different amounts of take-all fungus inoculum were added. One experiment (Expt. 1) was carried out using soils from farmers' fields (two fields in 1994 and two in 1995); soil infectivity and soil conduciveness were evaluated for three experimental situations: bare soil, soil with wheat volunteers and soil with blackgrass plants. In 1994 the soil infectivity was zero in bare soil, high with the wheat cover, and intermediate with the blackgrass cover. In 1995 the soil infectivity was uniformly low for all three conditions. Soils bearing wheat were less conducive than bare soil, soils bearing blackgrass and bare soils were similarly conducive. A second experiment (Expt. 2) carried out in 1995 compared the soil infectivity and soil conduciveness to take-all of soils planted with wheat or blackgrass in set-aside land after periods of wheat monoculture of 0–6 yr. The soil infectivity was low for all treatments. The soil was more conducive after blackgrass than after wheat. In both cases, the soil conduciveness was less when the monoculture had continued for more than 4 yr. The decline was less after blackgrass than after wheat. Thus, whenever set-aside is set up during the increase phase of the disease in fields with cereal successions, abundant wheat volunteers might hinder the expected positive effect of a break in cereal successions on take-all development. The presence of blackgrass in a set-aside field, with significant soil infectivity and high soil conduciveness, might increase the risks of take-all development in a wheat crop following set-aside.