American Journal of Potato Research

, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

Improving Soil Health in Pacific Northwest Potato Production: a Review

  • Karen HillsEmail author
  • Harold Collins
  • Georgine Yorgey
  • Andrew McGuire
  • Chad Kruger


Many factors are driving interest in improving soil health in potato production systems in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and beyond, including the need for enhanced sustainability and economic viability, and consumer preferences. Potato production poses a particular challenge in terms of soil health due to intensive tillage, minimal residue left on fields, short rotations, and the importance of managing soilborne pathogens. This review discusses existing soil health assessment methods and their relevance for the region and summarizes results of studies conducted in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, examining practices aimed at improving soil health and their effects on soil health, soilborne pathogens, yield and quality of potatoes, and net returns in potato production systems. These practices include reducing tillage; adjusting crop rotation length and species composition; reducing fumigation; and using cover crops, green manures, and organic amendments.


Green manure Organic amendments Tillage reduction Soil quality Sustainability 



best management practice


Good Agricultural Practices


Potato Early Dying


Pacific Northwest


Muchos factores están conduciendo hacia el interés en mejorar la salud del suelo en los sistemas de producción de papas en el noroccidente del Pacífico de los EUA y más allá, incluyendo la necesidad de mayor sustentabilidad y viabilidad económica, y en las preferencias del consumidor. La producción de papas representa un reto particular en términos de salud del suelo debido a la intensa labranza, residuos mínimos dejados en el campo, rotaciones cortas, y la importancia del manejo de patógenos del suelo. Esta revisión discute los métodos de análisis existentes sobre salud del suelo y su relevancia para la región y resume los resultados de estudios llevados a cabo en el Pacífico noroccidental y más allá, examinando las prácticas enfocadas al mejoramiento de la salud del suelo y sus efectos sobre su sanidad, patógenos del suelo, rendimiento y calidad de las papas, y las ganancias netas en los sistemas de producción de papas. Estas prácticas incluyen la reducción de la labranza; ajustes en la longitud de la rotación de cultivos y en la composición de las especies; reducción de la fumigación; y el uso de cultivos de cobertura, estiércol verde, y mejoradores orgánicos.



The authors would like to thank the Washington State Potato Commission for funding the report on which this article is based. The authors would also like to thank the numerous individuals who provided input on this project, including: Shannon Andrews, Oregon State University (OSU); Chris Benedict, Washington State University (WSU); Doug Boze, Idaho Crop Improvement Association; Bill Buhrig, J.R. Simplot Company; Brian Charlton, OSU; Kasia Duellman, University of Idaho (UI); Kenneth Frost, OSU; Matt Harris, Washington State Potato Commission; Debra Inglis, WSU; Andy Jensen, Northwest Potato Research Consortium; Dennis Johnson, WSU; Rick Knowles, WSU; April Leytem, USDA-ARS; Athena Loos, McCain Foods Ltd.; Don McMoran, WSU; Jeff McMorran, OSU; Jeff Miller, Miller Research Inc.; Amber Moore, OSU; Jennifer Moore-Kucera, formerly of USDA-NRCS; Nora Olsen, UI; Kate Painter, UI; Mark Pavek, WSU; Tom Salaiz, McCain Foods Ltd.; Mike Thornton, UI; Tim Waters, WSU; Carrie Wohleb, WSU; Jonathon Whitworth, USDA-ARS; and John Wraspir, Washington State Department of Agriculture.


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© The Potato Association of America 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural ResourcesPuyallupUSA
  2. 2.USDA-ARS Temple, Texas, formerly of USDA-ARS ProsserProsserUSA
  3. 3.Washington State University ExtensionPullmanUSA
  4. 4.Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural ResourcesMount VernonUSA

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