Document Source: Canadian Journal of Plant Science 78:660-671
Infestations of root maggots (Delia spp.) (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) were assessed in Brassica rapa L. and Brassica napus L. grown under conventional and zero tillage regimes, at three row spacings (10, 20 and 30 cm) and three seeding rates (5.0, 7.5 and 10.0 kg ha-1 or 120, 180 and 240 plants m-2).
The studies were conducted during two growing seasons (1995 and 1996) at each of two sites in central Alberta. Root maggot infestations were assessed by determining the numbers of eggs laid per plant during the growing season and by larval feeding damage to canola taproots assessed at the end of the season. Seed yields of the treatment plots also were determined.
Plants of B. rapa were significantly more susceptible to root maggot infestations than were plants of B. napus. Root maggot egg populations and root damage were generally greater with zero tillage than with conventional tillage.
Plants grown at higher seeding rates (7.5 and 10.0 kg ha-1) usually had less root damage than plants grown at the lowest
(5.0 kg ha1) seeding rate, and canola grown at wider row spacings (20 and 30 cm) has less root damage and higher yields than canola grown at the narrowest spacing (10cm).
Response surface regression analyses determined that deposition of fewest root maggot eggs per plant, least root damage and maximum yields occurred at seeding rates ranging from 7 to 11 kg ha-1 and at row spacings ranging from 17 to 25 cm.
Even though canola grown in zero tillage had greater root maggot infestations than canola grown in conventional tillage, higher yields still occurred with zero tillage. Zero tillage is therefore an appopriate agronomic practice in areas infested by high populations of root maggots. Sowing B. napus rather than B. rapa, increasing seeding rates and widening row spacings are also appropriate cultural control practices for reducing crop damage from these pests.