Announcements

Job offersmore »



Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




US (NH): USDA grant to study effects of pesticide treatments on weeds

A researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire has received a $474,679 grant to determine if pesticide seed treatments inadvertently protect weed seeds in the soil from being attacked by naturally occurring invertebrate and fungal species.

Many crops in the United States, including some grown here in New Hampshire, are grown from seeds that have been coated with a mixture of fungicides and insecticides. These pesticide seed treatments are intended to protect the crop from soil pathogens and insect pests. Increasingly, however, scientists are finding that these seed treatments, particularly the neonicotinoid insecticide component of the treatments, also are affecting other organisms that live in and around agricultural fields. Many of these soil microfauna are beneficial to agriculture.
 
“A host of insects and microbes that live in and on the soil, perform beneficial services that we often fail to appreciate, including suppressing weed populations. By attacking weed seeds in the soil, these beneficial organisms help to reduce the numbers of weeds in a crop field that then need to be controlled through other means, such as with tillage or herbicides,” said experiment station researcher Richard Smith, UNH associate professor of agroecology.


An interrow of corn. A researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire has received a $474,679 grant to determine if pesticide seed treatments inadvertently protect weed seeds in the soil from being attacked by naturally occurring invertebrate and fungal species. Credit: Nick Warren/UNH
 
The grant funding the three-year project lead by Smith is one of 21 grants totaling $7.6 million for research to help manage pests and beneficial species that affect agricultural crops. The grant was made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), with funding made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
 
“There continues to be a critical need to develop new ways to defend our crops against pests,” NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy said. “NIFA investments will also help to develop better strategies to foster the beneficial insects and microbes that have potential to combat pests.”

UNH researchers will investigate the role pesticide seed treatments play in mediating weed population and community dynamics, identify likely mechanisms contributing to the impacts of such treatments on weeds and their natural enemies, and explore whether cover crops, coupled with additional integrated pest management tactics, can mitigate nontarget effects of pesticide seed treatments on weeds.
 
“We have data suggesting that the insecticides and fungicides coated on most corn and some soybean seeds, generally referred to as pesticide seed treatments, can exacerbate the weed challenges faced by farmers. We hypothesize that pesticide seed treatments protect weed seeds in the soil from attack by their invertebrate and fungal “natural enemies,” and we have preliminary data supporting this,” Smith said.
 
“We also have data indicating that noncrop plants, such as cover crops, can take up significant quantities of residual pesticides from the soil, suggesting that strategic planting of cover crops could mitigate spill-over effects of pesticide seed treatments on weeds, including those resistant to glyphosate,” he said.
 
Glyphosate-resistant weeds are a serious concern in many regions of the United States, and this has prompted many farmers to seek alternative ways of managing these weeds, including by enhancing populations of organisms that naturally kill weed seeds. “If pesticide seed treatments are facilitating the persistence of weed seeds in the soil by protecting them from attack by beneficial organisms, whether that be on farms in the Corn Belt or here in New Hampshire, that’s a problem we really need to figure out how to address,” Smith said.
 
The research project will take place at the UNH Kingman Research Farm, a facility of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, and a university research farm in Pennsylvania. The research project builds on Smith’s previous experiment station-funded research on cover crops. John Tooker, associate professor of entomology at Penn State, also is collaborating on the project.

Publication date: 8/15/2017

 


 

Other news in this sector:

10/18/2017 US: Netting proving effective against Minnesota berry pest
10/18/2017 Chinese farmers need to cope with new pesticide schemes
10/18/2017 "Science first in EU decisions on plant protection products for crops"
10/17/2017 WUR: High levels of glyphosate in European agricultural soil
10/17/2017 Koppert and King Saud University sign research agreement
10/16/2017 NatureFresh Farms develops unconventional pest management methods
10/16/2017 Spain: Biobest recommends Nutrimite in sweet pepper
10/16/2017 NZ potato & tomato growers relieved at the release of pest eating wasp
10/16/2017 Protein restricts sap uptake by aphids
10/12/2017 Good results with PepMV vaccine in European countries
10/12/2017 Farmers don’t want pesticides, but in the meantime, they have a business to run
10/11/2017 US (NY): Venerate XC Bioinsecticide now available in New York
10/10/2017 New Zealand: New biocontrol released to control Tomato Potato Psyllid
10/9/2017 Russell IPM is launching Optiroll Super plus in the USA
10/9/2017 US: Elumin fungicide now registered for downy mildew in cucurbits
10/9/2017 IAEA inaugurates new laboratory to help countries fight insect pests
10/6/2017 US (GA): Researchers search for management solutions for whiteflies
10/6/2017 Honey tests reveal global contamination by bee-harming pesticides
10/6/2017 Dominican Republic addressing prevalence of thrips among veg exports
10/5/2017 Seven biocontrol products registered in Saudi Arabia