Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Natural Resources Modeling


Rocky Mountain Mathematics Consortium

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Alfalfa is a critical cash/rotation crop in the western region of the United States, where it is common to find crops affected by the alfalfa stem nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci). Understanding the spread dynamics associated with this pest would allow growers to design better management programs and farming practices. This understanding is of particular importance given that there are no nematicides available against alfalfa stem nematodes and control strategies largely rely on crop rotation to non-host crops or by planting resistant varieties of alfalfa. In this paper we present a basic host-parasite model that describes the spread of the alfalfa stem nematode on alfalfa crops. With this discrete time model we are able to portray a relationship between the length of crop rotation periods and the time at which the density of nematode-infested plants becomes larger than that of nematode-free ones in the post-rotation alfalfa. The numerical results obtained are consistent with farming practice observations, suggesting that the model could play a role in the evaluation of management strategies.