, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 25-40

The Effects of Cultural Measures on Cereal Pests and Their Role in Integrated Pest Management

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

The influences of cultural control measures on invertebrate pests and their natural enemies in cereals (wheat, barley and oats) are described and discussed, with emphasis on the major pests in north-west Europe. Possibilities for additive and synergistic combinations of cultural measures are identified, together with opportunities for integrating cultural measures with chemical and biological control where appropriate. Recent studies confirm the central role of cultural control measures in integrated pest management and integrated production of cereal crops. However, cultural measures often have opposing effects on different pests as well as diseases and weeds, so that appropriate measures must be selected on the basis of an assessment of the risks from key pests, diseases and weeds. Crop rotation is not an important means of controlling cereal pests, but its use is recommended for control of cereal diseases and weeds, as well as pests of crops grown in rotation with cereals. Diversification of crops and non-crop habitats in predominantly cereal growing areas is thought to increase numbers of certain parasitoids and polyphagous predators of cereal pests. The presence of weeds or an intercrop in a field together with cereals may reduce the severity of aphid and slug damage to cereals. Trap cropping has not yet been adequately tested in wheat, barley or oats. Cover crops reduce damage by wheat bulb fly in a following wheat crop, but increase the risk of slug damage. Resistance to a wide range of cereal aphid species has been identified in wheat and barley, but in Europe, more emphasis is placed on selecting cultivars with resistance to cereal diseases rather than pest resistance. Resistance in wheat to wheat bulb fly and wheat blossom midge is recorded, and resistance to slug damage has been reported in some laboratory studies. Early sowing of winter cereals results in more damage by certain dipterous pests and increased numbers of the aphid vectors of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), but early sowing results in less damage by wheat bulb fly and slugs in autumn/winter and by late infestations of aphids in summer. Avoidance of ploughing results in reduced incidence of wheat bulb fly, yellow cereal fly and aphids, but increased numbers of slugs, wheat blossom midge and bibionid larvae. Avoidance of ploughing can result in greater numbers of certain polyphagous predators, particularly in the first weeks following crop establishment. The presence of straw residues results in increased slug populations, but reduced incidence of yellow cereal fly and wheat blossom midge. Preparation of fine, firm seedbeds discourages attack by slugs and wheat bulb fly on cereals. Drilling at slightly greater depth in rough cloddy seedbeds helps to protect wheat seeds from slug damage. Nitrogen fertiliser applied in spring can help cereal plants compensate for losses by wheat bulb fly or slugs. However, nitrogen applications tend to result in increased summer infestations of aphids.