Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

What is the progress with your research on sequestration of carbon in soil as described in your 2003 article? Also interested in your progress growing mycorrhizal fungi on the farm?

Thanks,
Ted
British Columbia

 

DEAR TED:

This past fall 2006, we took deep core soil samples across all three systems in our Farming Systems Trial. We will have these samples analyzed to look at soil carbon in the three systems comparatively. We are also exploring the possibility of collaborating with USDA scientist Kristy Nichols to examine the glomalin content of the samples. Glomalin is a glycoprotein produced by mycorrhizal fungi and is hypothesized to be a large portion of the recalcitrant (long-lasting) carbon in soils. These analyses take time and are costly, so we are exploring sources of funding (which is in itself a process).

Collaborating with USDA-ARS scientist David Douds, PhD, we are continuing with on-farm production of mycorrhizal fungi using inoculated Bahia grass. Two varieties of garlic were inoculated with the fungi and planted this past fall, and we will compare growth and yield of inoculated and non-inoculated garlic plots. The inoculant will be used this coming spring on potatoes, sweet corn and possibly sweet potatoes.

Dr. Douds also started a long-term fallow experiment where we will be monitoring the viability of mycorrhizal fungi in a long-term fallow scenario. We will also be looking at the effects of non-host plants (brassicas, forage radish, rapeseed) on the long-term effect of mychorrizae fungi in these field conditions.

Dave Wilson

 

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