All News

Researchers find rotations with Brassicas consistently reduce soil-borne diseases in potatoes and improve yields

Image result for potato cropIf you’re dealing with some tough soil-borne diseases as a potato grower in North America, adding canola, mustard or rapeseed to your potato rotation could help. That important finding emerged from potato rotation studies in Maine, led by Dr. Bob Larkin, a research plant pathologist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Over the past 12 years, USDA researchers conducted more than 70 trials to investigate the effects of different rotations on soil-borne diseases in potatoes and on potato yields. Overall, Larkin and his research team found that crops in the Brassicaceae family, such as canola, rapeseed and mustard, consistently reduced potato diseases like black scurf, common scab and Verticillium wilt, and significantly improved potato yields. As well, these kinds of sustainable practices provide other long-term benefits for a farm’s production capacity and potential longevity. These benefits include improving overall soil health, enhancing soil microbial diversity and activity, increasing soil organic matter and building a healthier agro-ecosystem. More