EFFECTS OF CULTURAL MANAGEMENT ON THE FOOT AND ROOT DISEASE COMPLEX OF DURUM WHEAT
M. Montanari, G. Innocenti, G. Toderi
The effects of three tillage techniques (minimum tillage [chisel ploughing], and mouldboard ploughing to a depth of 25 and 50 cm) and four 2-year crop rotations (continuous wheat, wheat/barley, wheat/sugarbeet and wheat/fallow) on the foot and root disease complex of durum wheat were studied from 1999 to 2001 in an experimental field at the Bologna University farm. Brown foot rot (BFR) caused by Fusarium species and Bipolaris sorokiniana, and eyespot caused by Oculimacula spp. were the major components of the foot and root disease complex. Ploughing was significantly more effective than chiselling in controlling eyespot disease over the whole period of observation, whereas ploughing significantly reduced BFR only in 1999 when the incidence of the disease was the highest. Wheat/sugar-beet was generally less favourable for development of the foot and root disease complex than the other rotations tested. The effects of tillage techniques and crop rotations on disease were year-dependent. A more detailed analysis carried out in 2000 to evaluate the effect cultural practices on fungi associated with brown foot rot disease, indicated that F. culmorum was predominant with minimum tillage and scarce in ploughing, whereas B. sorokiniana was predominant in plots that were ploughed.