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Can placement of seed away from relic stubble limit Rhizoctonia root rot in direct-seeded wheat?

Soil and Tillage Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.still.2008.05.014
  • Direct Seeding
  • Rhizoctonia Root Rot
  • Precision Seed Placement
  • Relic Seed Row
  • Soilborne Fungal Pathogens
  • Pathogen Inoculum
  • Crop Residue
  • Rhizoctonia Solani
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Abstract Rhizoctonia root rot of wheat can be a problem in no-till systems, especially during the transition from conventional tillage. There are no effective chemical controls or resistant varieties, leaving only cultural methods to manage this disease. In a no-till system, residue and inoculum of soilborne pathogens are not moved by cultivation, therefore the inoculum may be concentrated in the seeding row of the previous year. Using GPS tracking systems with sub-meter accuracy, the seeding row could be placed away from the row of the previous year. We tested the hypothesis that seeding away from the relic row may reduce Rhizoctonia root rot. In two field experiments, plants were sampled at three distances from the seed row, as well as from fumigated plots. Intact soil cores were also removed from the field, planted with seeds at various distances from the previous row, and grown in the greenhouse under controlled conditions. Pasteurized cores served as controls. Disease levels were higher in the field in the second year, but there was no consistent effect of seed row placement on disease or plant parameters. However, soil fumigation and pasteurization had significant effects, indicating that soilborne pathogens were active. Inoculum of Rhizoctonia is not produced in the crowns and lower stems of the plant, but the pathogen survives in living and dead roots of the previous year crop, volunteers, and grassy weeds. Thus, high inoculum densities may be present in between the relic rows, as well as within the rows. If this is the situation with Rhizoctonia, precision placement of seed rows would not be efficacious.

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