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  • Author or Editor: William P. Morrison x
  • HortScience x
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Indian mustard trap crops have successfully reduced pesticide use on commercial cabbage in India. Diamondback moth has been a serious pest of cabbage in Texas and has demonstrated resistance to most classes of insecticides. Use of a trap crop could fit well in an integrated management program for cabbage insects, Three-row plots of spring and fall cabbage were surrounded by successive single-row plantings of Indian mustard in trials at Lubbock, Texas to determine the efficacy of interplanting for reducing insecticide applications. Insects in the cabbage and Indian mustard were counted twice weekly, and insecticides were applied selectively when economic thresholds were reached. Indian mustard was highly attractive to harlequin bugs, and protected intercropped spring cabbage. Cabbage plots without mustard required two insecticide applications to control the infestation. False chinch bugs were also highly attracted to Indian mustard. Lepidopterous larvae, including diamondback moth, did not appear to be attracted to the trap crop. Indian mustard trap crops reduced insecticide applications to spring cabbage but had no positive effect on fail cabbage.

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Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) has been reported to be a preferred host for diamondhack moth (Plutella xylostellu) and other insect pests when interplanted with cabbage (Brasssica oleracea var. capitata). A cabbage-Indian mustard companion planting study was conducted to determine the seasonal occurrence of cabbage insects and the potential for using a trap-crop system to reduce insecticide applications to cabbage in West Texas. Three-row plots of cabbage 9 m long were transplanted with and without sequentially seeded borders of Indian mustard in three seasons. Harmful and beneficial insects were counted at roughly weekly intervals. Insecticides were applied when insect populations in individual plots reached predetermined thresholds. Indian mustard did not appear to be more attractive than cabbage to lepidopterous pests, but did preferentially attract hemipterans, particularly harlequin bugs (Margantia histrionica). The mustard trap crop eliminated two insecticide` applications in one trial by reducing harlequin bug pressure on the cabbage.

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A system of intercropping cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.) with Indian mustard [Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.] to reduce pesticide applications was evaluated over three cropping seasons. Insects were monitored in nonintercropped cabbage, cabbage plots surrounded by Indian mustard, and the Indian mustard intercrop. Insecticide applications were made to individual plots based on specific treatment thresholds for lepidopterous insects and accepted pest management practices for other insects. Intercropping had no significant effect on the number of lepidopterous larvae in cabbage. Indian mustard did not appear to preferentially attract lepidopterous insects, but was highly attractive to hemipterans, especially harlequin bugs [Murgantia histrionica (Hahn)]. In one season with heavy harlequin bug pressure, intercropping with Indian mustard eliminated two insecticide applications to cabbage. Intercropping cabbage with Indian mustard does not appear to be an economical pest management practice under normal pest pressures in West Texas.

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