​​Crop Rotation and Soil Health in Potato Production Systems

November 2019 | 18 min., 03 sec.
by Robert P. Larkin


​Crop rotation is a basic management tool that can help maintain, restore, and replenish soil resources and is essential for managing 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, viewers will learn the following: 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.

About the Presenter

Robert P. LarkinRobert P. Larkin has been a Research Plant Pathologist for 20 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (USDA–ARS), New England Plant, Soil, and Water Laboratory, in Orono, Maine. He works primarily with potato and organic vegetable production systems. His primary areas of research are the biological and cultural control of soilborne diseases, disease-suppressive rotation crops, sustainable cropping systems, soil health, and soil microbial communities. Previously, Dr. Larkin was at the USDA¬–ARS, Biocontrol of Plant Diseases Laboratory, in Beltsville, Maryland, where he worked on the biological control of wilt diseases of vegetables. Dr. Larkin also did postdoctoral research on various aspects of soilborne diseases at the University of Missouri in Columbia and at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He received a BS degree in Environmental Sciences-Biology from Bradley University; an MS degree in Ecology from University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida, Gainesville.​​

Contact Information:
Email: bob.larkin@ars.usda.gov


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