Case Study 1. Use of soil biodiversity to reduce soil-borne diseases/pests incidence and increase nutrient availability in potatoes cropped in multiple cropping and rotations. Mediterranean South (Spain)
Which problem will be solved: The vegetables cultivation in the area are mainly threatened by low availability of nutrients due to pH > 8, with the need to continuously add external inputs, the excessive use of water and the presence of cyst nematodes. This makes productions costs be high
State of the art: The potatoes and vegetables cultivation in the area is highly intense in external inputs to increase fertility (inorganic fertilizers and manure), reduce the incidence of diseases/pests (pesticides) and increase yields (irrigation water). Multiple cropping and rotations are common, but not optimized to maximize the development of soil organisms.
Objective: The objective of this case study is to increase soil nutrient availability and soil water retention capacity and reduce soil-borne diseases/pests incidence to decrease productions costs.
Proposed management practices: We will check better optimal multiple cropping and rotations to enhance soil fertility and biodiversity and reduce soil-borne diseases/pests incidence, integrated pest control and addition of nutrient solubilizing biological agents (plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPB).
Progress with the case study in relation with the state of the art: Finding adequate crop rotations/multiple cropping to manage soil biodiversity, not performed so far. Assessment of PGPB on soil biodiversity, since it has been proved their efficiency to enhance yields, but little is known about their effect on native microbial communities and time evolution. Maybe plant combination and organic matter addition could enhance native soil biodiversity with no need for bioaugmentation.