Field-edge planting to deter white-tailed deer and attract carabid beetles in soybean fields
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In many cropping systems, farmers have to contend with invertebrate and vertebrate pests, but there have been few attempts to employ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies and tactics that simultaneously manage these problems. This study tested whether or not damage to soybean from white-tailed deer could be reduced by field-edge plantings, while increasing the abundance of predatory ground beetles in the same soybean fields and subsequently reducing numbers of soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, on soybean plants. The 2012 field season had five perimeter treatments. There were no significant effects of treatment on factors of interest, but there were significantly more deer presence, deer grazing damage, and carabidae captures at areas close to field-edge as opposed to 20 m into crop field. In 2013, plot sizes were increased and treatments were decreased. The two treatments in 2013 were: alfalfa + red clover + orchard grass and soybean (control). Deer grazing damage to soybeans was significantly lower in areas adjacent to a legume + orchard grass field edge planting. Significantly more carabids were captured in field areas associated with legume + grass perimeter plantings. Soybean aphid population densities were low throughout the study and their numbers were not significantly affected by perimeter treatments. In conclusion, the results of this research suggest that field-edge plantings may be a potential technique to mitigate white-tailed deer grazing on soybean, while boosting numbers of carabid beetles in the same field.