ENHANCING SUSTAINABILITY OF FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN THE NORTHEAST
Location: New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory
Title: Identifying constraints to potato systems sustainability: Soilborne diseases and soil microbial communities
Submitted to: Northeast Potato Technology Forum
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 2, 2009
Publication Date: March 6, 2009
Citation: Larkin, R.P., Honeycutt, C.W., Griffin, T.S., Halloran, J.M., Olanya, O.M., He, Z. 2009. Identifying constraints to potato systems sustainability: Soilborne diseases and soil microbial communities. Northeast Potato Technology Forum Proceedings. p. 7.
Four different potato cropping systems, designed to address specific management goals of soil conservation (SC), soil improvement (SI), disease suppression (DS), and a status quo (SQ) standard rotation control, were evaluated for their effects on soilborne diseases of potato and soil microbial community characteristics (SMCC). SQ consisted of barley underseeded with red clover followed by potato (2-yr). SC featured an additional year of forage grass and reduced tillage (3-yr, barley/timothy-timothy-potato), SI added yearly compost amendments to the SC system, and DS featured diverse crops with known disease-suppressive capability (3-yr, mustard/rapeseed-sudangrass/rye-potato). Each system was also compared to a continuous potato control (PP) and evaluated under irrigated and non-irrigated conditions. Data averaged over three potato seasons demonstrated that all rotations reduced stem canker (10-50%) relative to PP. All rotations reduced black scurf (28-58%) relative to PP, and scurf was lower in DS than all other systems. The SQ, SC, and DS systems also reduced common scab (15-35%), and scab was lower in DS than all other systems. Irrigation increased black scurf and common scab, but also resulted in higher yields for most rotations. SI produced the highest yields under rainfed conditions, and DS produced high yields and low disease overall. Each rotation resulted in distinctive changes in SMCC as represented by microbial populations, substrate utilization, and FAME profiles. Overall, soil water, soil quality, and soilborne diseases were the primary factors responsible for constraining productivity, and systems addressing these constraints enhanced productivity and sustainability.