Percent soil organic matter (SOM), pH and crop yield are among the biophysicochemical process-driven soil health indicators (SHIs). However, identifying sustainable soil health conditions using these SHIs is limited due to the lack of Integrated Productivity Efficiency (IPE) models. We define IPE as a concept that identifies best-to-worst-case soil health outcomes by assessing the effect of agronomic practices on weighted abundance of functional guilds (WAFG) of beneficial soil organisms and SHIs simultaneously. Expressing WAFG of all beneficial nematodes (x-axis) and SHIs (y-axis) as a percent of untreated control and regression of x and y reveals four quadrants describing worst-to-best-case outcomes for soil health and sustainability. We tested the effects of composted cow manure (AC) and plant litter (PC) applied at 135 (1×), 203 (1.5×), and 270 (2×) kg N/ha on WAFG, SOM, pH, and yield in a sandy clay loam field of a processing carrot cultivar over three growing seasons. Untreated control and urea at 1× served as experimental controls. Data that varied by time and were difficult to make sense of were separated into sustainable, unsustainable, or requiring specific modification to be sustainable categories by the IPE model. Within the sustainable category, all AC treatments and 2× rate of PC treatments had the best integrated efficiency outcomes across the SHIs. The IPE model provides a platform where other biophysicochemical process-driven SHIs could be integrated. View Full-Text
Habteweld, A., Kravchenko, A. N., Grewal, P. S., & Melakeberhan, H. (2022). A nematode community-based integrated productivity efficiency (IPE) model that identifies sustainable soil health outcomes: A case of compost application in carrot production. Soil Systems, 6(2), 35. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems6020035
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