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Root development in potato and carrot crops – influences of soil compaction

Johansen, Tor J.; Thomsen, Mette G.; Løes, Anne-Kristin and Riley, Hugh (2015) Root development in potato and carrot crops – influences of soil compaction. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science, 65 (2), pp. 182-192.

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Row crops such as potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) and carrots (Daucus carota L.) are of high economic value in the Nordic countries. Their production is becoming more and more specialized, including continuous arable cropping and heavier farm machinery, with increased risk of soil compaction. The result may be restricted root development and economic losses. Potatoes have widely branched adventitious roots, whereas carrots have taproots with fibrous roots extending from them. Under optimal soil conditions, total root length per surface area may reach more than 10 km m−2 for both species. Maximal root depth is about 140 cm for potato and more than 200 cm in carrots. Most of the root mass is usually distributed within the upper 100 cm, whereof more than 50% may be deeper than 30 cm. Soil compaction causes a dense soil with few large pores, poor drainage and reduced aeration, especially in wet soils with low organic matter content and high proportions of silt or clay. With compacted subsoil layers, roots will be concentrated more in the upper layers and thus explore a smaller soil volume. This will lead to reduced water and nutrient uptake, reduced yields and low nutrient utilization efficiency. In this review article, we describe the interactions between root development and soil conditions for potatoes and carrots, with special focus on sub-optimal conditions caused by soil compaction. We also discuss the effects of tilling strategies, organic material, irrigation and fertilization strategies and controlled traffic systems on root and yield development. To reduce subsoil compaction there is a need to implement practises such as controlled traffic farming, new techniques for ploughing, better timing of soil operations, crop rotations with more perennial crops and supplements of organic material. Moreover, there is a need for a stronger focus on the impacts of farm machinery dimensions.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:soil tillage, root growth, row crops, changing climate
Agrovoc keywords:
soil compaction
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Vegetables
Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Root crops
Research affiliation: Norway > NIBIO – Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
Norway > NORSØK - Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture
Deposited By: Løes, Anne-Kristin
ID Code:45331
Deposited On:27 Jan 2023 18:29
Last Modified:27 Jan 2023 18:29
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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