Impact of Weed Management on Soil Arthropods in a Soybean Cropping System
Sustainable Production
AgricultureBiodiversityCarbonField management Land Use SustainabilityU.S. Soy reputation
Parent Project:
This is the first year of this project.
Lead Principal Investigator:
Deirdre Prischmann-Voldseth, North Dakota State University
Co-Principal Investigators:
Amitava Chatterjee, North Dakota State University
Greta Graming, North Dakota State University
Ashton Hansen, North Dakota State University
+2 More
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:

It's hard to imagine the ground we walk on as the ceiling of another world. But as you walk through your field, thousands of individuals are living in the soil under your feet. Although insects and their relatives (i.e. soil arthropods) are difficult to see, they are a vital part of soil health. Arthropods living below ground can impact crop productivity, and in turn, they can be impacted by conditions above ground, including management practices and plant diversity.

Unique Keywords:
#arthropods, #insect, #soybean cropping system, #sustainability
Information And Results
Final Project Results

Within the limitations of our study, with few exceptions, if there was an effect of weed management on densities of soil arthropods, it seemed to be driven by the absence of weeds rather than the application of the herbicide. However, a cluster analysis indicated that the composition of arthropod communities below ground tended to differ between hand-weeded and glyphosate plots. Overall, the field site itself had a stronger effect on arthropods than weed management treatments, which is likely related to differences in soil properties such as texture.

Soil nutrients were primarily influenced by field site location and weed presence. Initially, we expected that applying an insecticide would have a negative impact on soybean plant growth parameters due to the disruption of beneficial arthropods (associated with nutrient recycling, etc.). However, we found that in some cases there was no impact of the insecticide or that plant parameters were actually higher in plots where insecticide was applied. Currently, we believe this is because the insecticide suppressed populations of pest arthropods that were negatively affecting N-fixing soybean root nodules. This benefit outweighed the contributions of the beneficial soil arthropod fauna.

This study demonstrates that soil arthropods can impact soybean plants, and that soil conditions and plant diversity can alter arthropod density and/or species composition. Because what happens below ground can affect what happens above ground, it would be beneficial to understand more about how specific soil arthropods positively and negatively impact soybean production in North Dakota.

The United Soybean Research Retention policy will display final reports with the project once completed but working files will be purged after three years. And financial information after seven years. All pertinent information is in the final report or if you want more information, please contact the project lead at your state soybean organization or principal investigator listed on the project.