Submitted to: Microbial Ecology International Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: It is essential that sustainable farming systems be developed so that a nutritious food supply can be maintained in proper quantity. Currently, we have no quick reliable means for measuring sustainability and means of utilizing agricultural residues in the cropping system are unavailable. It is proposed that measuring deleterious rhizobacteria (DRB) may provide a means of assessing sustainability. The greater the number of DRB, the less sustainable the cropping system. The feasibility of using DRB for weed biocontrol was presented and the development of low-input, on-farm composting for crop residue utilization was described. Both approaches should add to the development of sustainable cropping systems.
Technical Abstract: Developing sustainable cropping systems will be difficult because there are no rapid measures of sustainability. Deleterious rhizobacteria appear to present crop yield constraints and seem to be affected by cropping system practices. Their presence may signal problems and their presence or absence may be an indicator of sustainability. DRB also appear promising for the biocontrol of weeds. In this context, they would appear to benefit sustainable cropping systems because they are environmentally benign, are cheap, and do not require extensive nonrenewable resource inputs. The development of low-input, on-farm composting of high C/N ratio crop residue provides a new method for crop residue utilization. The approach may also allow more widespread adoption of beneficial practices such as no-till seeding because residue loads could be reduced to benefit crop growth and weed control. These developments should assist the design of sustainable cropping systems.