Weeds of the genus Orobanche parasitize many dicotyledonous species, causing severe damage to vegetable and field crops worldwide. In Oregon, the number of red clover fields contaminated with small broomrape has increased in recent years. Small broomrape parasitism in red clover is temperature related. In this study, the temperature-dependent relationship was developed into a predictive model based on growing degree-days (GDD) for small broomrape parasitism in red clover. The model was developed in greenhouse studies and validated in the field during three growing seasons. A strong relationship between GDD and parasite size allowed for the creation of a simple predictive model for tubercle number based on GDD. The proposed model is based on a temperature range realistic to western Oregon climatic conditions and predicts lag, log, and maximum phases for four parasitism sizes in relation to GDD. Small broomrape parasitism in red clover began at about 400 GDD, but red clover biomass accumulation was not affected by parasitism before 1,200 GDD. Small broomrape flower stalk emergence began at about 1,100 GDD. Field studies validated that GDD could be a predictive parameter for small broomrape parasitism and could be used to time detection surveys and herbicide applications.
Nomenclature: Small broomrape, Orobanche minor J. E. Smith. ORAMI; red clover, Trifolium pratense L. TRFPR.