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Cured Dairy Compost Influence on Weed Competition and on ‘Snowden' Potato Yield

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Alexander J. Lindsey
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824
Karen A. Renner
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824
Wesley J. Everman
Department of Crop Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
E-mail address:


Potatoes are an important global food crop typically produced in high-input systems in temperate zones. Growers that have access to compost may use it to improve soil health and increase tuber yields, but compost may also increase weed competition by increasing early-season water availability and weed growth. A field study at the Michigan State University Montcalm Research farm in 2010 and 2011 investigated the impact of compost on weed competition in potato. Potatoes were grown in field plots with 0, 4,000, or 8,000 kg carbon (C) ha−1 of compost under weed-free conditions, and in competition with common lambsquarters, giant foxtail, and hairy nightshade. Compost did not increase biomass or seed production of any weed species. Giant foxtail and hairy nightshade at 5.3 plants per meter of row reduced potato yield by 20%; common lambsquarters reduced yield by 45%. The yield reduction by giant foxtail and hairy nightshade was due to a decrease in tuber bulking, whereas yield reductions from common lambsquarters were a result of lower tuber set and bulking. Potato yield increased 5 to 15% in compost compared to non-compost treatments; tuber specific gravity decreased by 0.3% in composted treatments. Across weed densities, elevated soil potassium levels in the 8,000 kg C ha−1 composted treatment may have increased potato yield and decreased tuber specific gravity.

La papa es un cultivo de importancia a nivel global que es típicamente producido en sistemas con altos insumos en zonas templadas. Los productores que tienen acceso a compost podrían usarlo para mejorar la salud del suelo e incrementar los rendimientos de tubérculos, pero el compost podría también aumentar la competencia de malezas al incrementar la disponibilidad de agua y el crecimiento de las malezas temprano durante la temporada. Un estudio de campo en la Finca de Investigación Montcalm de la Universidad Estatal de Michigan investigó el impacto del compost sobre la competencia de las malezas con la papa. Se sembraron papas en parcelas de campo con 0, 4,000, ó 8,000 kg carbon (C) ha−1 de compost bajo condiciones libres de malezas, y en competencia con Chenopodium album, Setaria faberi y Solanum physalifolium. El compost no incrementó la biomasa o producción de semillas de ninguna de las especies de malezas. S. faberi y S. physalifolium a 5.3 plantas por metro de cultivo redujeron el rendimiento de la papa en 20%. C. album redujo el rendimiento en 45%. La reducción del rendimiento causada por S. faberi y S. physalifolium se debió a la reducción en crecimiento del tubérculo, mientras que las reducciones del rendimiento debido a C. album fueron el resultado de una menor producción y crecimiento de tubérculos. El rendimiento de la papa incrementó 5 a 15% en compost al compararse con tratamientos sin compost; la gravedad específica del tubérculo disminuyó en 0.3% en los tratamientos con compost. A través de todas las densidades de malezas, los niveles elevados de potasio en el suelo en el tratamiento con compost con 8,000 kg C ha−1 podrían haber incrementado el rendimiento de la papa y disminuido la gravedad específica de los tubérculos.

Weed Biology and Competition
Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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Cured Dairy Compost Influence on Weed Competition and on ‘Snowden' Potato Yield
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