Crop Rotation and Soil Health in Potato Production Systems
By Robert P. Larkin, Ph.D.
Research Plant Pathologist
New England Plant, Soil and
Water Research Laboratory
University of Maine
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Crop rotation is a basic management tool that can help maintain, restore, and replenish soil resources, and is essential for the management of soilborne diseases and maintaining crop productivity. This presentation will help consultants, extension specialists, growers, home gardeners, and other practitioners understand how crop rotations can be used to improve soil health and reduce soilborne diseases in potato production systems. Specifically, practitioners will learn the following from this presentation: why crop rotation is important; how to use four main factors (crop type, rotation length, rotation sequence, and use of crop) in determining and implementing useful crop rotations; description and use of disease-suppressive rotation crops; field results demonstrating how crop rotations (and other management practices) can improve soil health, reduce soilborne diseases, and increase tuber yield in potato production. By the end of this presentation, practitioners should understand the role of crop rotations in soil health management and how to effectively utilize crop rotations in potato production.