Welcome to the Potato Soil Health Project

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The Potato Soil Health Project was established to address two related issues with soil health in potato cropping systems across the U.S.:  (1) despite the frequent use of fumigation in most farms, pressure from soil-borne diseases is increasing over time, and (2) at the same time, soil productivity is declining.  Our overall objectives are to determine how best to measure soil health in potato cropping systems, identify the tools (cover crops, soil amendments, rotation schemes) that best enhance both soil health and tuber production, and communicate our findings to potato growers.

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August 1, 2022

We held a research meeting on July 20 at the Potato Association of America conference in Missoula, MT.  We discussed what has been accomplished to date in the project, what we expect to accomplish in the no-cost extension year that begins on September 1, and our plans for continuing the project beyond 2023.  We are currently seeking the support of the Potato Research Advisory Committee (PRAC) for a renewal of SCRI funding.  PRAC’s endorsement was critical to our success in securing the initial grant.

March 22, 2022

At out project stakeholders meeting on March 17 (Zoom link, notes), in addition to an update on project progress to date, we discussed what needs to happen for the project to continue after the no-cost extension period ends (August 31, 2023).  There will be a Potato Soil Health Symposium at the PAA meeting on July 2023 in Prince Edward Island, Canada, with international perspectives on soil health, the microbiome, and the importance of soil health to the potato products industry.  We started planning on a meeting to present the results of this project in March 2023.

March 16, 2022

Our project stakeholders meeting is tomorrow, March 17.  A brief progress report, which we will go over at the meeting, can be found here.

February 17, 2021

Potatoes USA interviewed project director Carl Rosen for their Potato-Cast podcast at the Potato Expo in Anaheim, CA.  In this episode, Dr. Rosen discusses the challenges and potential benefits of managing potato cropping systems for improved soil health.  He also discusses the Potato Soil Health Project, its purpose and scope, and the meaning of life.

December 7, 2021

Zoom meeting for project researchers.  All fieldwork for 2021 has been successfully completed.  In Objective 2, many study fields were set up to make interesting comparisons with adjacent or nearby fields.  Touqeer Abbas will be presenting a poster on Objective 2 results from 2019 at the Potato Expo in Anaheim.  Objective 3 researchers are looking forward to conducting a grower survey at the Expo, as well.  They also ask that all researchers provide data on rotation crop yields, as they cannot make accurate models based on potato yields alone.  In Objective 4, one factsheet on organic amendments is in the works, and the rest are completed and on the website (see Reports or Education tab).  Work has begun on the grower handbook, using the factsheets as a foundation.  A new hire has been selected to continue Marian Bolton’s work on the microbiome data for Objectives 1 and 2.  Look for additional information early in 2022.  We also discussed options for extending the study for at least one more rotation.