Regulation of Population Densities of Heterodera cajani and Other Plant-Parasitic Nematodes by Crop Rotations on Vertisols, in Semi-Arid Tropical Production Systems in India


  • S. B. Sharma
  • T. J. Rego
  • M. Mohiuddin
  • V. N. Rao


The significance of double crop (intercrop and sequential crop), single crop (rainy season crop fallow from June to September), and rotations on densities of Heterodera cajani, Helicotylenchus retusus, and Rotylenchulus reniformis was studied on Vertisol (Typic Pellusterts) between 1987 and 1993. Cowpea (Vigna sinensis), mungbean (Phaseolus aureus), and pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) greatly increased the population densities of H. cajani and suppressed the population densities of other plant-parasitic nematodes. Mean population densities of H. cajani were about 8 times lower in single crop systems than in double crop systems, with pigeonpea as a component intercrop. Plots planted to sorghum, safflower, and chickpea in the preceding year contained fewer H. cajani eggs and juveniles than did plots previously planted to pigeonpea, cowpea, or mungbean. Continuous cropping of sorghum in the rainy season and safflower in the post-rainy season markedly reduced the population density of H. cajani. Sorghum, safflower, and chickpea favored increased population densities of H. retusus. Adding cowpea to the system resulted in a significant increase in the densities of R. reniformis. Mean densities of total plant-parasitic nematodes were three times greater in double crop systems, with pigeonpea as a component intercrop than in single crop systems with rainy season fallow component. Cropping systems had a regulatory effect on the nematode populations and could be an effective nematode management tactic. Intercropping of sorghum with H. cajani tolerant pigeonpea could be effective in increasing the productivity of traditional production systems in H. cajani infested regions. Key words: cropping system, cyst nematode, Helicotylenchus retusus, Heterodera cajani, nematode management, production system, Rotylenchulus reniformis