​​​Basics of Soil Health in Potato Production

November 2019 | 16 min., 26 sec.
by Robert P. Larkin


​Soil health is important for improving crop productivity and agricultural sustainability and may be especially important for belowground crops, such as potato. This presentation will help consultants, Extension specialists, growers, home gardeners, and other practitioners understand why soil health is important and how to monitor and manage soil health in potato production. Specifically, this presentation will address these questions: What is soil health, and why is it important? How is soil health assessed? What are the benefits of improved soil health? What strategies and management practices can be used to improve soil health? This presentation provides basic information on understanding soil health and how it can be managed in potato production systems.

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


In 2020, Grow webcasts had more than 110,000 views. Help support our mission to provide comprehensive high-quality, science-based resources to and for plant health researchers and practitioners at no cost.

PDMR submission guidelines and schedule information are available online.


Plant Health Progress is a peer-reviewed multidiciplinary, online journal of applied plant health.