Crop rotation design in view of soilborne pathogen dynamics

Published on
November 28, 2013

During the last decades, agriculture went through an intensification process associated with an increased use of fossil fuel energy, which despite temporarily increasing yields often resulted in decreased overall sustainability. Crop rotation is considered a cornerstone of sustainable farming systems. The design of crop rotations is complex because several objectives have to be combined. On December 18 at 11:00 am, Carolina Leoni Velazco will defend her PhD thesis “Crop rotation design in view of soilborne pathogen dynamics”.

This thesis provides a methodological approach to the design of crop rotations and their effects on soil borne pathogen dynamics, based on two ecologically distinct and relevant pathogens in vegetable production systems: Sclerotium rolfsii and Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cepae. The results demonstrate that a combination of data from controlled experiments, novel analytical tools (Bayesian analysis, modelling and simulation) and on-farm observations can lead to the identification of optimal crop rotations without extensive field experiments that require a lot of time, space and economic resources.