Submitted to: New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2015
Publication Date: 12/15/2015
Citation: Douds, D.D. 2015. Impacts of farm management upon arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and production and utilization of inoculum. New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference Proceedings. p. 178-181.
Technical Abstract: Arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] fungi are naturally-occurring soil fungi that form a mutualistic symbiosis with the roots of most crop plants. The plant benefits through increased: nutrient uptake from the soil, disease resistance, and water stress resistance. Optimal utilization of AM fungi is essential for the long term sustainability of agricultural systems. Many agricultural practices developed to enhance sustainability also have beneficial effects upon AM fungi. Crop rotations, overwintering cover crops, and reducing tillage are beneficial to the soil’s native AM fungus population and help large-scale farmers better utilize the symbiosis. Vegetable and horticulture crop farmers who grow seedlings in a greenhouse prior to outplanting can efficiently use inoculum of AM fungi. Inocula are available commercially either in concentrated form or already incorporated into potting media. Alternatively, inoculum of the AM fungus community indigenous to the farm can be produced on-farm, saving the farmer a significant expense. Adopting AM fungus-friendly management practices or use of inoculum of these fungi can enhance agricultural sustainability and yields.