Improving productivity of managed potato cropping systems in Eastern Canada: Crop rotation and nitrogen source effects.

Nyiraneza, J., Peters, R.D., Rodd, A.V., Grimmett, M.G., and Jiang, Y. (2015). "Improving productivity of managed potato cropping systems in Eastern Canada: Crop rotation and nitrogen source effects.", Agronomy Journal, 107(4), pp. 1447-1457. doi : 10.2134/agronj14.0430  Access to full text

Abstract

Strategies to improve sustainability are important in intensively managed potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) systems. This study has assessed rotation systems and N sources to mitigate potato yield and soil organic matter decline in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. Three-year potato rotation systems were initiated in 2006: continuous potato (CP); potato–barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) underseeded with red clover (Trifolium pratense L.)–red clover (PBR); and potato–barley–sorghum sudan grass ([Sorghum bicolor L.) used as green manure])/winter rape (Brassica napus subsp. rapifera) (PBSW); and potato–barley–canola ([Brassica napus susbsp. napus] used as green manure)/winter rape (PBCW). Three different N sources (mineral N fertilizer, liquid hog manure, and lobster flake) were applied in a split-plot fashion during the potato phase. Potatoes were grown in 2006, 2009, 2012, and again in 2013 to evaluate residual effects. In 2012, total N or total C in the whole soil, in particulate organic matter or in the slurry fractions were not affected by N sources or rotation systems. The PBSW and PBCW rotations generated significantly higher potato yields in 2009 and 2013, whereas the CP rotation produced significantly lower potato yields in 2 of 4 yr. The addition of lobster flake suppressed yield compared with other N sources in 3 of 4 yr. The PBR rotation, which is common in PEI can increase nitrate losses over winter. Alternatively, the PBSW and PBCW rotations may represent a good substitute to the PBR rotation as they can increase potato yield while minimizing nitrate losses.

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