Evaluation of potato early die complex management using custom compost blends and nematicides

MSU researcher Marisol Quintanilla worked with a private company to develop and evaluate designer composts to combat potato early die complex.

Researcher: Marisol Quintanilla
Awarded: $36,700
Leveraged: $275,987

Potatoes are one of the top 10 highest-valued commodities in Michigan and are faced with many serious pest management issues. Parasitic nematodes, especially root lesion, are detrimental to a variety of cropping systems, including potato. These nematodes, when combined with the common pathogen, Verticillium dahliae, create what is known as potato early die complex (PED), which significantly reduces plant vigor and yield. PED can reduce yields up to 50% and affects nearly half of all Michigan potato growers.

This project developed soil-based management practices for PED with the goal of providing an alternative to soil fumigation. Researchers accomplished this through the development, evaluation and delivery of designer composts, as well as the evaluation of non-fumigant nematicides. Custom compost blends were developed in cooperation with Morgan Compost Inc., a company that specializes in creating specific compost and soil amendment recipes for commodities and individual growers.

Results suggest that utilizing compost or manure can significantly reduce root lesion nematodes and increase yield in potatoes.

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