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Open access

Asmita Nagila, Brian J. Schutte, Soum Sanogo, and Omololu John Idowu

When applied before crop emergence, soil amendments with mustard seed meal (MSM) control some weeds and soilborne pathogens. MSM applications after crop emergence (herein “postemergence applications”) might be useful components of agricultural pest management programs, but research on postemergence applications of MSM is limited. The overall objective of this investigation was to develop a method for postemergence application of MSM that does not cause irrecoverable injury or yield loss in chile pepper (Capsicum annuum). To accomplish this objective, we conducted a sequence of studies that evaluated different MSM rates and application methods in the greenhouse and field. For the greenhouse study, we measured chile plant photosynthetic and growth responses to MSM applied postemergence on the soil surface or incorporated into soil. For the field study, we determined chile pepper fruit yield responses to MSM applied postemergence using a technique based on the method developed in greenhouse, and we confirmed that the MSM rates used in our study (4400 kg·ha−1 and 2200 kg·ha−1) inhibited the emergence of the weed Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) and the growth of the pathogen Phytophthora capsici, which are common problems in chile pepper production in New Mexico. Greenhouse study results indicated that MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 spread on the soil surface caused irrecoverable injury to chile pepper plants; however, chile pepper plants were not permanently injured by the following three treatments: 1) MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 incorporated into soil, 2) MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 spread on the soil surface, and 3) MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 incorporated into soil. For the field study, postemergence, soil-incorporated applications of MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 suppressed emergence of Palmer amaranth by 89% and reduced mycelial growth of Phytophthora capsica by 96%. Soil-incorporated applications of MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 suppressed emergence of Palmer amaranth by 41.5% and reduced mycelial growth of Phytophthora capsica by 71%. Postemergence soil-incorporated applications of MSM did not reduce chile pepper yield compared with the control. The results of this study indicated that MSM applied after crop emergence and incorporated into soil can be a component of pest management programs for chile pepper.

Open access

Brian J. Schutte, Adriana D. Sanchez, Leslie L. Beck, and Omololu John Idowu

This study evaluated false seedbeds, which are sequences of irrigation and tillage that eliminate weed seedlings before crop planting, to reduce requirements for hand hoeing in chile pepper (Capsicum annuum). To address this objective, a field study was conducted near Las Cruces, NM from July 2015 to Oct. 2016 (experimental run 1) and July 2016 to Oct. 2017 (experimental run 2). False seedbeds were designed to target weeds that typically emerge after chile pepper planting. This was done by implementing false seedbeds the summer before chile pepper seeding. During chile pepper seasons, data included repeated measures of weed seedling emergence, amounts of time required for individuals to hoe field sections (i.e., hoeing time), and yields of two chile products: early harvest of green fruit and late harvest of red fruit. Hoeing time and yield data were included in cost–benefit analyses that also incorporated expenses and revenues projected by crop budget models for the study region. Results indicated false seedbeds caused a 54% decrease in weed population density during the chile pepper season of experimental run 1; however, for experimental run 2, false seedbeds did not affect cumulative weed seedling emergence. For both experimental runs, false seedbeds reduced hoeing times, suggesting that false seedbeds affected hoeing by means other than reduced weed density. After accounting for costs for implementation, false seedbeds reduced hand hoeing costs by $262/acre to $440/acre. These reductions in hoeing costs coincided with improved profitability in all but one combination of year and product. Green fruit yield was lower in false seedbed plots in experimental run 1; however, false seedbeds did not affect green fruit yield in experimental run 2, or red fruit yield in both experimental runs. These results indicate that false seedbeds implemented the summer before planting are promising techniques for reducing labor requirements for weeding in chile pepper production.

Open access

Asmita Nagila, Soum Sanogo, O. John Idowu, and Brian J. Schutte

Soil-borne diseases and weeds can be inhibited by mustard family (Brassicaceae) cover crops that are mowed and incorporated into the soil with tillage—a process referred to as biofumigation. To determine whether a fall-seeded mustard cover crop produces enough biomass to be a biofumigant in spring, this study measured the amount of biomass produced by a mixture of ‘Caliente Rojo’ brown mustard (Brassica juncea) and ‘Nemat’ arugula (Eruca sativa) grown in three commercial fields and a university research farm in southern New Mexico, USA. This study also determined whether the mustard biomass incorporated in the soil inhibits a weed [Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri)], but does not affect a cash crop adversely [chile pepper (Capsicum annuum)]. Results indicated that, if the mustard cover crop was seeded before the first frost in fall, mustard cover crops produced biomass in quantities sufficient for biofumigation in spring. Mustard biomass incorporated in the soil reduced the survival and germination of Palmer amaranth seeds. Under greenhouse conditions, chile pepper plants grown in soil with mustard cover crop biomass were larger than chile plants grown in soil without mustard biomass. Chile pepper plants in soil with mustard biomass did not show symptoms of Verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae), whereas such symptoms were found on about 33% of chile pepper plants in soil without mustard biomass. These results suggest that a fall-seeded mustard cover crop that is tilled into the soil in early spring is a potential pest management technique for chile pepper in New Mexico.

Open access

Brian J. Schutte, Abdur Rashid, Israel Marquez, Erik A. Lehnhoff, and Leslie L. Beck

Seaside petunia (Calibrachoa parviflora) is a mat-forming plant species that was recently reported in fall-seeded onion (Allium cepa) in the southwestern United States. To initiate development of herbicide recommendations for seaside petunia in onion, we conducted a study to determine seaside petunia susceptibility to commonly used herbicides for broadleaf weed control after onion emergence. Our study included herbicides applied at below-label rates, which provided insights on seaside petunia responses to reductions in the amount of herbicide available for plant absorption. For herbicides with preemergence activity, our growth chamber study indicated that soil applications of flumioxazin or oxyfluorfen (0.06 and 0.25 lb/acre, respectively) prevented seaside petunia seedling emergence when applied at 0.125×, 0.25×, 0.5×, and 1.0× the labeled rates for onion. Labeled rate treatments of dimethenamid-P (0.84 lb/acre) and S-metolachlor (0.64 lb/acre) inhibited seedling emergence similar to labeled rate treatments of flumioxazin and oxyfluorfen; however, below-label rate treatments of dimethenamid-P and S-metolachlor resulted in diminished control of seaside petunia compared with the labeled rate treatments. Following labeled rate applications of dimethyl tetrachloroterephthalate [DCPA (6 lb/acre)] and pendimethalin (0.71 lb/acre), more than 50% of seaside petunia seedlings emerged compared with the nontreated control. For herbicides with postemergence activity on weeds, our greenhouse study indicated that bromoxynil at 0.37 lb/acre, flumioxazin at 0.06 lb/acre, and oxyfluorfen at 0.25 lb/acre equally reduced growth of seaside petunia plants that were small at the time of spraying (stem length, 1–2 cm). Postemergence control of seaside petunia with oxyfluorfen and flumioxazin decreased as plant size at spraying increased; however, bromoxynil effects on seaside petunia remained high as stem length at spraying increased from 5 to 12 cm. Based on the results of this study, we conclude that promising herbicide programs for seaside petunia in onion include oxyfluorfen or flumioxazin for preemergence control and bromoxynil for postemergence control. These herbicides, alone and in combination, should be evaluated for seaside petunia control and onion phytotoxicity in future field trials.