A Cover Cropping Strategy for
First Early Potato Production
Researcher: Dr. A.W. McKeown, Horticultural
Experiment Station, Principal Researcher
- To evaluate the effects of the following on emergence,
yield and diseases of early potatoes:
- several broadleaf and grass species as cover
- early July and September sowings of cover
- a single fall disk to partially turn under
cover crop vs. all soil preparation in spring.
- Answer some of the questions on soil management
for early potato production.
- Identify potential problems with alleopathic
effects of cover crops to save growers considerable dollars.
- Identify potential disease problems or benefits
due to cover cropping practices.
- Better cover cropping practices will lead to
sustainable production and less environmental damage from soil management
practices for early potatoes in Ontario.
In southern Ontario, early potatoes (Solanum tubersom
L.) are harvested commencing late June. Consequently, soil erosion is
a risk if fields are summer-fallowed until traditional fall plantings
of cover or cereal rotation crops. Commonly used cereals, rye (Secale
cereale L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and oats (Avena
sativa L.) were compared to bare soil controls in July and August
plantings. Oilseed radish (Raphanus sativus L. var oleiformis),
spring canola (Brassica napus L.), winter canola (Brassica
napus L.) and soybeans (Glycine max L.) were also evaluated
as potential July planted cover crops. No consistent differences in
emergence, yield and specific gravity of potatoes were observed following
any of the cover crops. In 1991 the field used had high levels of root
lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus penetrans Cobb). Cereal cover
crops had no effect on root lesion nematodes but soybeans increased
nematode populations which apparently lowered the yield of Superior
potatoes. Oilseed radish and winter canola cover crops resulted in nematode
populations somewhat higher but not significantly different from those
of bare soil controls and yield of potatoes equal to the controls. Use
of canola and oilseed radish show promise as covercropping options in
early potato production.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 01:01:52 PM