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Study: Composted Hog Manure for Potato Protection

by 5m Editor
2 September 2011, at 9:16am

CANADA - Researchers with the University of Manitoba will launch a study this fall to assess the value of composted hog manure in improving the yield and quality of Manitoba potato crops, Bruce Cochrane writes.

A three-year study being launched this month will compare the effect of composted beef cattle manure, the composted solids from liquid-solid separated hog manure and conventional fumigation in reducing the yield losses in potatoes caused by verticillium wilt.

Dr Mario Tenuta, a soil scientist with the University of Manitoba and Canada Research Chair in Applied Soil Ecology, explains previous work has shown the addition of composed beef cattle manure reduces the amount of Verticillium in the potato.

Dr Mario Tenuta-University of Manitoba

Verticillium wilt is the major cause disease agent of potato early dying, which a lot of potato producers in the province of Manitoba are concerned about in their potato fields, believing that it robs them of yield.

We know when the compost is added the disease incidence in the field is much lower and we have these increased marketable yields.

How it does this, we're not certain.

Of course, we always think of compost as having nutrients, particularly phosphorus, in the compost so that's on our radar in terms of teasing out is it actually an increase in phosphorus nutrition and then there's also, what we're finding is that there's healthier potato plants.

Particularly, they don't die as early as untreated plants although those plants have had synthetic fertilisers added.

This extra longevity in the potato plant actually allows the late tuber bulking stage to be a bit longer and this means we get bigger tubers which relates to greater marketable yield and in cases where the larger tubers are desirable actually greater marketable yield and bonus payout to producers.

Dr Tenuta says the effectiveness of the treatments in killing Verticillium and in reducing disease and how that impacts marketable yield, size distribution of the tuber and quality parameters will be assessed.

He hopes to have the first preliminary results from the study available by next fall.