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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Orono, Maine » New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #316440

Title: Impacts of different potato cropping systems on crop and soil health parameters

item Larkin, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Potato Association of America Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2015
Publication Date: 7/19/2015
Citation: Larkin, R.P. 2015. Impacts of different potato cropping systems on crop and soil health parameters. Potato Association of America Proceedings. p. 64.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil health is essential for agricultural sustainability and environmental quality, and may be greatly affected by management practices. In field trials established in 2004, different 3-yr potato cropping systems focused on specific management goals of soil conservation (SC), soil improvement (SI), and disease-suppression (DS) were evaluated and compared to a 2-yr standard rotation (SQ) and a non-rotation control (PP) for their effects on various crop and soil health parameters under both rainfed and irrigated conditions over an 8-year period. Cropping system significantly affected soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, as well as plant and crop characteristics, with effects generally increasing over time. The SI system, with yearly compost amendments, resulted in the most dramatic impacts, with substantially greater increases in total and POM C and N, Active C, microbial activity, water availability, CEC, and concentrations of P, K, Ca, Mg, and S, as well as higher leaf area duration (LAD), leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD), and root and shoot biomass, than all other rotations. Both SI and SC increased aggregate stability, and SI reduced bulk density relative to all other rotations. However, all rotations increased aggregate stability, water availability, total C and N, LAD, and SPAD relative to no rotation (PP). Irrigation generally had minimal effects on soil properties, but greatly affected plant characteristics, such as LAD, SPAD, and biomass. Cropping systems that incorporate management practices such as use of cover crops, green manures, organic amendments, and reduced tillage can improve crop and soil health.