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Evaluation of "Green Manure" Rotational Strategies for Potatoes in Upstate New York 2003

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Project Leader: John J. Mishanec, CCE, NYS IPM Program

Cooperators: Ralph Childs Bob Leavitt and Ron Edgely, Franklin and Essex County potato growers, Richard Gast, CCE Franklin County Agricultural Technician, Prof. Don Halseth, Fruit and Vegetable Science Dept., Cornell University

Type of grant: Cultural methods; sanitation; physical controls

Project locations: This work occurred in Franklin and Essex counties. Findings may be applied throughout the Northeast.

Abstract: North Country potato growers are looking at rotational crops they are unfamiliar with. Sudangrass has been successfully employed throughout the state as an excellent way to increase organic matter, break up soil hard pans and decrease soil pathogens. In recent years, crops in the mustard family used as green manure have shown soil benefits as well. We looked at yellow mustard, oilseed radish and sudangrass as green manure treatments in a rotation with potato. In 2002, pre treatment nematode and OM samples were taken from Malone and Lake Placid locations. The fields were then planted to mustard, oil-seed radish and sudangrass. In the fall, the cover crop treatments were plowed down as green manure. In May of 2003, those same fields were re-tested for nematodes and OM prior to planting potatoes. One field had the harvest evaluation carried out in the fall. Results were very encouraging. Nematode levels were substantially reduced in the treatment fields. We found low numbers of nematode in the field that had been fallow for a year as well. We also averaged a 14% increase in yield with both Monona and Reba over the checks of those same varieties. While the sample number is small, we hope to continue doing this work for a few more years to see if the trends continue. Things we learned will also lead to new investigations.

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