Crop rotation has been used for the management of soilborne diseases for centuries, but has not often been planned based on scientific knowledge. Our objective was to generate information on Sclerotium rolfsii dynamics under different crop or intercrop activities, and design and test a research approach where simple experiments and the use of models are combined to explore crop sequences that minimize Southern blight incidence. The effect of seventeen green manure (GM) amendments on sclerotia dynamics was analyzed in greenhouse and field plot experiments during two years. The relative densities of viable sclerotia 90 days after winter GM (WGM) incorporation were generally lower than after summer GM (SGM) incorporation, with average recovery values of 60% and 61% for WGM in the field, 66% and 43% for WGM in the greenhouse, and 162% to 91% for SGM in the greenhouse, in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Sclerotia survival on day d after GM amendment was described by the model Sf = Si × exp(-b × d), relating initial (Si) and final (Sf) sclerotia densities. Relative decay rates of the sclerotia (b) in SGM amended soil were largest for alfalfa (0.0077 ± 0.0031 day-1) and sudangrass (0.0072 ± 0.0030 day-1). In WGM amended soil, the largest b values were for oat (0.0096 ± 0.0024 day-1), wheat (0.0090 ± 0.0024 day-1) and alfalfa (0.0087 ± 0.0023 day-1). The effect of three cropping sequences (sweet pepper–fallow, sweet pepper–black oat and sweet pepper–onion) on sclerotia dynamics was analyzed in microplot experiments, and the data were used to calibrate the model Pf = Pi/(a + ßPi), relating initial (Pi) and final (Pf) sclerotia densities. Median values for the relative rate of population increase at low Pi (1/a, dimension less) and the asymptote (1/ß, number of viable sclerotia in 100 g of dry soil) were 8.22 and 4.17 for black oat (BO), 1.13 and 8.64 for onion (O), and 6.26 and 17.93 for sweet pepper (SwP). By concatenating the two models, sclerotia population dynamics under several crop sequences were simulated. At steady state, the sequence SwP–O–Fallow–BO resulted in the lowest long-term sclerotia density (7.09 sclerotia/100 g soil), and SwP–Fallow in the highest (17.89 sclerotia/100 g soil). The developed methodology facilitates the selection of a limited number of rotation options to be tested in farmers’ fields.
|Journal||Applied Soil Ecology|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
- southern blight
- vegetable farms
- soilborne pathogens
- organic amendments