A field trial was conducted to determine the effects of harvest method (green cane harvest versus preharvest burning) and different crop residue removal treatments on the populations of ground-inhabiting arthropod predators and Elasmopalpus lignosellus (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in the first ratoon crop. Neither preharvest burning nor percentage crop residue removal after green cane harvest had any significant effect on the numbers of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) (F = 1.00; df = 4; P = 0.412) or spiders (Araneae) (F = 0.08; df = 4; P = 0.921) captured in pitfall traps. In contrast, crop residue levels remaining after green cane harvest significantly impacted E. lignosellus damage to the ratoon crop, with increased damage associated with lower levels of residue. Removal of ≥66% of the crop residue caused a significant (F = 132.68; df = 3; P < 0.001) increase in E. lignosellus damage that would likely reduce sugarcane yield, while 33% of the residue could be removed without increasing damage. Overall, our data indicate that green cane harvesting will not affect arthropod ground predators but may reduce the risk of E. lignosellus damage.
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