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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Orono, Maine » New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327315

Title: Cumulative and residual effects of potato cropping system management strategies on crop and soil health parameters

item Larkin, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/17/2016
Publication Date: 4/1/2016
Citation: Larkin, R.P. 2016. Cumulative and residual effects of potato cropping system management strategies on crop and soil health parameters. 2016 Northeast Potato Technology Forum Abstracts, p. 13-16.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil and crop management practices can greatly affect parameters related to soil health, as well as crop productivity and disease development, and may provide options for more sustainable production. 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 over 8 years of field trials to assess the cumulative and residual effects of these systems over time. Cropping system significantly affected soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, as well as tuber yield and disease development, with effects generally becoming more pronounced over time. Cropping system continued to have significant effects even after rotations were discontinued (residual effects). All rotations increased aggregate stability, water availability, microbial activity, and yield relative to no rotation, and 3-yr rotations were superior to 2-yr for several parameters. The SI system, which included yearly compost amendments, had the greatest effects on soil health parameters, resulting in high yields, but only nominal disease reduction. The DS system, which included disease-suppressive green manures and cover crops, provided more modest improvements in soil health parameters, but high yields and the greatest disease reduction, maintaining low disease levels throughout the study. Incorporating soil health management practices and disease-suppressive rotations into potato cropping systems can improve soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, resulting in improved nutrition, enhanced yield, and disease suppression.