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Organic inputs, tillage and rotation practices influence soil health and suppressiveness to soilborne pests and pathogens of ginger.

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Stirling, G.R., Smith, M. K., Smith, J.P., Stirling, A.M. and Hamill, S. D. (2012) Organic inputs, tillage and rotation practices influence soil health and suppressiveness to soilborne pests and pathogens of ginger. Australasian Plant Pathology, 41 (1). pp. 99-112.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13313-011-0096-0


A field experiment was established in which an amendment of poultry manure and sawdust (200 t/ha) was incorporated into some plots but not others and then a permanent pasture or a sequence of biomass-producing crops was grown with and without tillage, with all biomass being returned to the soil. After 4 years, soil C levels were highest in amended plots, particularly those that had been cropped using minimum tillage, and lowest in non-amended and fallowed plots, regardless of how they had been tilled. When ginger was planted, symphylans caused severe damage to all treatments, indicating that cropping, tillage and organic matter management practices commonly used to improve soil health are not necessarily effective for all crops or soils. During the rotational phase of the experiment, the development of suppressiveness to three key pathogens of ginger was monitored using bioassays. Results for root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne javanica) indicated that for the first 2 years, amended soil was more suppressive than non-amended soil from the same cropping and tillage treatment, whereas under pasture, the amendment only enhanced suppressiveness in the first year. Suppressiveness was generally associated with higher C levels and enhanced biological activity (as measured by the rate of fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolysis and numbers of free-living nematodes). Reduced tillage also enhanced suppressiveness, as gall ratings and egg counts in the second and third years were usually significantly lower in cropped soils under minimum rather than conventional tillage. Additionally, soil that was not disturbed during the process of setting up bioassays was more suppressive than soil which had been gently mixed by hand. Results of bioassays with Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. zingiberi were too inconsistent to draw firm conclusions, but the severity of fusarium yellows was generally higher in fumigated fallow soil than in other treatments, with soil management practices having little impact on disease severity. With regard to Pythium myriotylum, biological factors capable of reducing rhizome rot were present, but were not effective enough to suppress the disease under environmental conditions that were ideal for disease development.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:© Australasian Plant Pathology Society.
Keywords:Organic matter; crop rotation; soil health; amendments; brassica; biofumigation; farming systems; plant-parasitic nematodes; fusarium; pythium; meloidogyne; symphyla; fusarium-wilt; damping-off; zingiber-officinale; microbial activity; hairy vetch; management; watermelon; resistance.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science > Soil and crops. Soil-plant relationships. Soil productivity
Plant pests and diseases
Plant culture > Field crops
Live Archive:21 Feb 2012 07:02
Last Modified:17 Feb 2023 04:23

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