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The effect of cover crops on plant parasitic-nematodes of sugarcane

Berry S.D., Rhodes R., Foster J., Risède J.M., Van Antwerpen R.. 2011. International Journal of Pest Management, 57 (4) : p. 363-375.

DOI: 10.1080/09670874.2011.621984

Plant-parasitic nematodes cause significant yield losses to sugarcane crops in South Africa. The currently available chemicals for nematode control are both expensive and potentially detrimental to the environment. Various alternative crops have been reported to reduce the numbers of plant-parasitic nematodes. Mindful of this, we evaluated 27 cover crops in pot trials to assess their host status to important plant-parasitic nematodes of sugarcane. All of the crops tested in pots hosted significantly lower numbers of Pratylenchus than did sugarcane. Crops such as cowpeas, tomato and grazing vetch were good hosts for Meloidogyne and would not be good choices as part of a sugarcane rotation system in heavily-infested soils. Conversely, crops such as oats, wheat, forage peanuts and marigolds reduced numbers of Meloidogyne. Velvet beans increased the abundance of Helicotylenchus, a beneficial nematode genus. A field trial was also conducted to study the effect of different cover cropping sequences. Our results show that changes in nematode communities occurred within three months of growing these crops and often remained low for the duration (the remaining 15 months) of the crops' growth. Nematodes such as Pratylenchus and Tylenchorhynchus were significantly lowered and remained so for the duration of the trial.

Mots-clés : saccharum officinarum; meloidogyne; pratylenchus; helicotylenchus; lutte antinématode; plante de couverture; afrique du sud

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