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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCING SUSTAINABILITY OF FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN THE NORTHEAST Title: Soil test phosphorus and microbial biomass phosphorus in potato fields

Authors
item He, Zhongqi
item Honeycutt, Charles
item Olanya, Modesto
item Larkin, Robert
item Halloran, John

Submitted to: International Journal of Food, Agriculture, and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 3, 2011
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Citation: He, Z., Honeycutt, C.W., Olanya, O.M., Larkin, R.P., Halloran, J.M. 2011. Soil test phosphorus and microbial biomass phosphorus in potato fields. International Journal of Food, Agriculture, and the Environment. 9(1):540-545.

Interpretive Summary: Appropriate evaluation of soil phosphorus (P) availability is a prerequisite for best P management in potato production systems. Consequently, we report our observations on three types of soil test P and two types of microbial biomass-relevant P in these fields impacted by potato crop rotation and irrigation. Our data demonstrated that fumigation was more effective than microwave irradiation in measuring microbial biomass P from these soils. Soil test P data indicated that 3-year crop rotations did not significantly change these two soil test P levels in these potato and rotation crop fields although it is not clear how crop rotation may impact these two types of P in potato fields in a longer term rotation. Modified Morgan non extractable inorganic phosphates were significantly impacted by crop rotation. Furthermore, MMPi quantified in the spring was negatively correlated with the previous year’s potato yield for fields receiving the same amount of P fertilizer. This observation implied that the decrease of MMPi levels was due to the P take-up for potato tuber growth and the modified Morgan extraction procedure was a good indicator of P utilization. Further research is required to determine if these changes consistently occur over longer periods.

Technical Abstract: Appropriate evaluation of soil phosphorus (P) availability is a prerequisite for best P management in potato production systems. Consequently, we evaluated soil test P and microbial biomass P in 10 rainfed and irrigated potato field soils which had three-year crop rotations. Ammonium oxalate extracted P was the highest with a level of >1400 mg kg-1. Olsen P was moderate and ranged from 100 to 120 mg kg-1. Modified Morgan inorganic P (MMPi) was lowest (<10 mg kg-1). However, only the MMPi levels were significantly impacted by crop rotation. Furthermore, MMPi quantified in the spring was negatively correlated with the previous year’s potato yield for fields receiving the same amount of P fertilizer and had R2 values of 0.92 (P=0.05), 0.78 (P=0.1), and 0.59 (P=0.05) for rainfed, irrigated, and for both fields, respectively. This observation implied that the decrease of MMPi levels was due to the P take-up for potato tuber growth and the modified Morgan extraction procedure was a good indicator of P utilization. Our data indicated that fumigation was more effective than microwaving in releasing microbial biomass P from these soils. Irrigation increased microbial biomass P in the Continuous Potato soils, but decreased it in the field soils of Soil Conserving, Soil Improving, Disease Suppressive, and Status Quo rotation treatments. Our observations suggested that crop rotation impacted both soil test and microbial biomass P in these potato fields. Further research is required to determine if these changes consistently occur over longer periods.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014