The overall strategies of ecologically sound crop and soil management focus on prevention of factors that might limit plant growth. These three strategies are to grow healthy plants with enhanced defense capabilities, stress pests, and enhance beneficial organisms. There are a variety of practices that contribute to these overall goals and have been discussed in this chapter as enhancing both aboveground habitat and soil habitat. There is some overlap, because cover crops, crop rotations, and tillage have effects both above and below ground. The various practices that improve and maintain soil habitats are discussed in detail in the following chapters of part 3.
As indicated in figure 8.4, in addition to the work of prevention (mainly accomplished before and during planting), there are routine management practices that are carried out during the season, and remedial or reactive approaches may need to be used if prevention practices are not enough to take care of some potential threat to the crop. However, just as with human and animal health, prevention is preferred to curing a problem after it develops. For this reason, the orientation of the remaining sections of the book are on practices that help prevent problems from developing that might limit the growth or quality of plants.
Borrero, C., J. Ordovs, M.I. Trillas, and M. Aviles. 2006. Tomato Fusarium wilt suppressiveness. The relationship between the organic plant growth media and their microbial communities as characterised by Biolog. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 38: 1631–1637.
Dixon, R. 2001. Natural products and plant disease resistance. Nature. 411: 843–847.
Gurr, G.M., S.D. Wratten, and M.A. Altieri, eds. 2004. Ecological Engineering for Pest Management: Advances in Habitat Management for Arthropods. Ithaca, NY: Comstock Publishing Association, Cornell University Press.
Magdoff, F. 2007. Ecological agriculture: Principles, practices, and constraints. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 22(2): 109–117.
Magdoff, F., and R. Weil. 2004. Soil organic matter management strategies. In Soil Organic Matter in Sustainable Agriculture, ed. F. Magdoff and R.R. Weil, pp. 45–65. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Park, S-W., E. Kaimoyo, D. Kumar, S. Mosher, and D.F. Klessig. 2007. Methyl salicylate is a critical mobile signal for plant systemic acquired resistance. Science 318: 313–318.
Rasmann, S., T.G. Kollner, J. Degenhardt, I. Hiltpold, S. Toepfer, Kuhlmann, J. Gershenzon, and T.C.J. Turlings. 2005. Recruitment of entomopathic nematodes by insect damaged maize roots. Nature 434: 732–737.
Sullivan, P. 2004. Sustainable management of soil-borne plant diseases. ATTRA, https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/download.php?id=283.
Vallad, G.E., and R.M. Goodman. 2004. Systemic acquired resistance and induced systemic resistance in conventional agriculture. Crop Science 44: 1920–1934.
Table of Contents
- About the Authors
- Healthy Soils
- Organic Matter: What It Is and Why It's So Important
- Amount of Organic Matter in Soils
- The Living Soil
- Soil Particles, Water, and Air
- Soil Degradation: Erosion, Compaction, and Contamination
- Nutrient Cycles and Flows
- Soil Health, Plant Health, and Pests
- Managing for High Quality Soils: Organic Matter, Soil Physical Condition, Nutrient Availability
- Cover Crops
- Crop Rotations
- Animal Manures for Increasing Organic Matter and Supplying Nutrients
- Making and Using Composts
- Reducing Erosion and Runoff
- Preventing and Lessening Compaction
- Reducing Tillage
- Managing Water: Irrigation and Drainage
- Nutrient Management: An Introduction
- Management of Nitrogen and Phosphorus
- Other Fertility Issues: Nutrients, CEC, Acidity, and Alkalinity
- Getting the Most From Routine Soil Tests
- Taking Soil Samples
- Accuracy of Recommendations Based on Soil Tests
- Sources of Confusion About Soil Tests
- Soil Testing for Nitrogen
- Soil Testing for P
- Testing Soils for Organic Matter
- Interpreting Soil Test Results
- Adjusting a Soil Test Recommendation
- Making Adjustments to Fertilizer Application Rates
- Managing Field Nutrient Variability
- The Basic Cation Saturation Ratio System
- Summary and Sources
- How Good Are Your Soils? Field and Laboratory Evaluation of Soil Health
- Putting It All Together