Effect of Compost Amendments on Disease Severity and Yield of Tomato in Conventional and Organic Production Systems

P. A. Abbasi, J. Al-Dahmani, F. Sahin, H. A. J. Hoitink, and S. A. Miller - The American Phytopathological Society

Farm Table says:

A preliminary report on a portion of this work was published previously, and the authors were able to come up with a consistent conclusion however, this study is focused on United States, certainly this is adaptable to other areas sharing the same geographical characteristics that is suitable for tomato production.

Foliar and fruit diseases of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.), such as early blight (Alternaria solani), Septoria leaf spot (Septoria lycopersici), anthracnose (Colletotrichum coccodes), bacterial spot (Xanthomonas vesicatoria and X. axonopodis pv. vesicatoria), and bacterial speck (Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato), can severely curtail production of this crop under climatic conditions that typically occur in Ohio and other Midwestern states.

Although commercial fungicides generally provide effective control of most fungal pathogens causing foliar diseases of tomato, multiple applications are usually required.

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of composts on the incidence of fungal and bacterial diseases and fruit yield in conventional and organic tomato production systems.

Methodological Overview:

Field trials were conducted over 2 years to assess the effects of compost amendments on disease development in organic and conventional processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) production systems.

• The incidence of anthracnose fruit rot was reduced in organic tomato plots amended with a high rate of composted cannery wastes compared with the incidence in non-amended control plots in 1998 when disease incidence was high.

• Marketable yield was increased by 33% in compost-amended organic plots.

• Plots amended with a high compost rate had more ripe fruit than the non-amended control.

• The incidence of anthracnose and of total disease on fruit was less on the cultivar OH 8245 than on Peto 696.

• Total fruit yield of OH 8245 but not in organic plots was increased by amendment with composted cannery wastes.

In conventional tomato production, composted yard wastes increased disease severity on foliage both years but reduced bacterial spot incidence on fruit in 1997, when disease pressure was high. The incidence of anthracnose was not affected by composted yard wastes. Marketable and total fruit yields were not increased in compost-amended conventional plots. The plant activator Actigard reduced foliar disease severity and the incidence of bacterial spot and anthracnose on fruit while increasing yield of marketable fruit.

A conclusion of the Study:

We conclude that compost amendments can play an important role in reducing economic losses from diseases to tomato growers, especially in organic production systems where the production of healthier fruit and increased yield were demonstrated. Numerous compost quality parameters must be considered to provide consistent effects against root diseases. Consistent control of foliar and fruit diseases may prove equally, if not, even more, challenging.

2001 - United States - P. A. Abbasi, J. Al-Dahmani, F. Sahin, H. A. J. Hoitink, and S. A. Miller - The American Phytopathological Society
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