Influence of Poultry Litter Applications on Nematode Communities in Cotton Agroecosystems


  • S. R. Koenning
  • K. R. Barker


columbia lance nematode, community structure, cotton, ecology, gossypium hirsutum, helicotylenchus dihystera, hoplolaimus columbus, management, nematode, paratrichodorus minor, poultry litter, population changes, pratylenchus brachyurus, soil health, trophic groups


The effects of the application of poultry litter at 0.0, 6.7, 13.4, and 20.1 tons/ha on population changes during the growing season on nematode communities were evaluated in two cotton production fields in North Carolina. Numbers of bactivorous nematodes increased at midseason in response to the rate at which litter was applied but decreased with increasing litter application rates at cotton harvest. Numbers of fungivores at cotton harvest were related positively to the rate of litter applied, and this affected a positive increase in the fungivore-to-bacterivore ratio at this sampling date. The rate at which poultry litter was applied resulted in an increase in the bacterivore to plant-parasite ratio, and this corresponded with increased cotton lint yield. Trophic diversity was increased by litter application rate at cotton harvest at one location but not at another. The plant-parasite maturity index was greater consistently at one site than at a second site where the Hoplolaimus columbus population density was above the damage threshold for cotton. The population density of H. columbus was suppressed with increasing rates of poultry litter application, but other plant-parasitic nematodes were affected marginally.