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Ag Impact Story – Soil Issues

Issue:  Vegetable producers in the Mid-Atlantic  have significant problems with soil borne diseases,  nematodes and weed management. To address problems with soil borne diseases, nematodes and weeds, producers need to evaluate problems affecting soil health including crop rotation, compaction, equipment traffic patterns, and tillage practices,

Response:  A four phase approach was developed to develop field specific recommendations over multiple years in fields identified as having problems with root diseases, nematodes, weeds and possibly soil insects.

  1. Phase 1: Identification of Cooperating Producers and Fields 
  2. Phase 2:  Soil Health Measurements –
  3. Phase 3: Prescriptive treatments developed and  growers implement plan
  4. Phase 4:  Assessment of Prescription Effectiveness 

Program Impact

  • In 2009 ,  the program  focused on demonstrations and field days highlighting the use of 3 composts (yard waste, agricultural grade compost, and spent mushroom compost) compared to no compost and fumigation on a poor soil health site and a good soil health site and the use of biofumigant crops.
  •  In 2010, forty six consultants and interested producers attended three field trainings in March-April for the use of soil health kits
  • In  2011, on farm demonstrations, testing, and sampling activities were conducted on over 1200 acres  –  representing 14 vegetable  farm operations
  • In the fall of 2011 and spring 2012, prescriptive treatments were developed and established in 19 fields