Exploring the combination of biofumigation and anaerobic soil disinfestation for soil quality enhancement in organic vegetable cropping systems

Graduate Student: Aaron Yoder

Major Professor: Mathieu Ngouajio, PhD · Michigan State University – Department of Horticulture

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Project Rationale:

Organic farmers are often restricted in their abilities to respond to disease pressures that persist through commonly utilized rotational and other non-chemical, preventative measures. Biofumigation (BF) and anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) represent management strategies that not only have the potential to alleviate such disease pressures, but to also address another critical issue in organic production- the management of soil fertility. Soil fertility is particularly important in organic cropping systems, where nitrogen can be a seriously limiting mineral nutrient. As fertilizer costs continue to increase, this aspect of cover cropping will become increasingly attractive for conventional growers as well. The multi-functional, dynamic nature of these practices stand to contribute significantly to sustainable agriculture, however the reliance on such a practice requires a heightened understanding of the biological and physical processes to ultimately provide desired outcomes.

Project Objectives:

Objectives for this project were to:

  1. Evaluate the N scavenging potential and release of N following spring brassica cover cropping under bare ground and black plastic mulch.
  2. Evaluating the impact of BF and ASD treatments on microbial activity.
  3. Determining the effects of BF and ASD treatments on yields of cucumber and tomatoes.

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