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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 21 No. 6, p. 961-968
    Received: Jan 22, 1981

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Effects of Defoliating Pests on Soybean Canopy CO2 Exchange and Reproductive Growth1

  1. K. T. Ingram,
  2. D. C. Herzog,
  3. K. J. Boote,
  4. J. W. Jones and
  5. C. S. Barfield2



Defoliation during reproductive growth of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] may significantly reduce yields. The objective of this study was to elucidate the relationships among organism-induced defoliation, CO2 exchange rates, and reproductive growth in fieldgrown soybean. Soybean (‘Bragg’) plots were sprayed a factorial design with diflubenzuron (0.035 kg a.i./ha) and a benomyl-maneb mixture (1.12 a.i./ha) on two dates, first at early flowering (5 August) and again at early pod set (19 August). Diflubenzuron application prevented defoliation by velvetbean caterpillar (Anticarsia gemmatalis Hubner). By 12 September, LAI was reduced from 5.5 to 2.8, leaf dry weight from 185 to 110 g/m2, and midday light interception from 94 to 72% in defoliated as compared to non-defoliated plots. While canopy specific leaf weight (SLW) increased in all treatments during the experimental period, SLW was 1.0 mg/cm2 higher in defoliated than non-defoliated plots. On 4 September defoliated plots were sprayed with diflubenzuron (0.035 kg a.i./ha) and carbaryl (0.56 kg a.i./ha) prevent further leaf loss.

Canopy CO2 exchange was measured at various photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFD) to develop photosynthesis light response curves. Net canopy photosynthesis at 1,500 μE·m−2·sec−1 PPFD (PN1500) declined steadily in all treatments during seed growth. PN1500 and plant dark respiration, respectively, were reduced by 6.8 and 3.3 mg CO2·dm−2·hour−1 in defoliated compared to non-defoliated plots. Soil CO2 efflux rates did not differ significantly (P < 0.05) between treatments. Differences in pod growth rates (7.6 and 9.21 g·m−2·day−1 and yields (434 and 502 g·m−2) between defoliated and non-defoliated plots, respectively, were attributed to differences in canopy photosynthetic capacity. There was no apparent effect of defoliation on seed growth duration or seed abortion. Rather, yield reduction in defoliated plots was related primarily to slowing of the individual seed growth rate. Balance of carbon flux to seeds showed relationships between instantaneous canopy CO2 exchange measurements and sequential harvest data.

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