Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Sugarcane straw and the populations of pests and nematodes

Luci Dinardo-Miranda, LeilaVilela Fracasso, Juliano

The green cane harvesting represented a significant change in sugarcane ecosystem due to the presence of straw left on the soil and to the absence of fire. These two factors may affect the populations of pests and their natural enemies. Among the pests benefit from the green cane harvesting stand out the spittlebug, Mahanarva fimbriolata, the curculionid Sphenophorus levis and sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis. In areas of green cane harvesting, the population of these species grew faster than in areas of burnt cane. On the other hand, there are virtually no records of attacks by lesser cornstalk borers in areas of green cane harvesting. Populations of plant parasitic nematodes and the beetles Migdolus fryanus, very important pests of sugarcane, were apparently not affected by the green cane harvesting. Despite the absence of more consistent information, it appears that populations of ants and the giant borer Telchin licus can increase in green cane areas, due primarily to the difficulty of pest control. The partial or total removal of straw from the field represents an additional change to the ecosystem that could alter the status of pests and nematodes. It is likely that spittlebug, the curculionid S. levis and sugarcane borer populations decrease if a portion of the straw is removed from the field. However, the pest populations in areas where the straw is collected will not return to their original conditions at the time of burnt cane harvesting because the absence of fire will be maintained.

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