Spatio-temporal consideration of soil conditions and site-specific management of nematodes

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Site-specific (precision) management (SSM) has potential for application in managing nematodes and soil conditions in environmentally meaningful ways. Successful application of SSM, however, may be dependent on how agronomically, biologically, and ecologically integrated the plan in question is. Otherwise, SSM risks falling into the “Tried but did not last” category. With this background and in addition to describing the concepts and principles of SSM, this presentation discusses the following interrelated points: (1) Case studies of spatio-temporal analysis of soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) infestations, soil conditions and crop yield in managed ecosystems. Among the critical factors to an accurate and sustained application of SSM are understanding (i) the temporal structure and (ii) the spatial structure of the attribute in question, and (iii) establishing cause-and-effect relationships in the prevailing conditions. New approaches to temporal structure analysis when balancing the purpose of SSM application and nematode biology (as it relates to life stages), population density in soil and root tissue (to determine threshold), and damage functions (physiological stress of the plant during the growing season) are outlined. (2) Application of the concept of fertiliser use efficiency (FUE) to identify soil conditions when managing soil fertility. Defined as increase in host productivity and/or decrease in plant-parasitic nematode population density in response to a given fertiliser treatment, the FUE model recognizes variable responses and identifies four categories of interactions necessary for integrated management decision-making options that account for agronomic, economic, ecological and environmental and pest management issues. (3) Approaches to changing soil conditions in agro-biologically integrated ways. By incorporating nematode community structure (an excellent indicator of soil bio-ecological changes), soil nutrient amendments and crop yield, we have described a modification of the FUE model to identify and monitor changes in soil conditions, thereby creating the necessary bridges to disciplinary and cross-disciplinary gaps and interactions.

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