Tuesday, November 3, 2009: 10:30 AM
Convention Center, Room 319, Third Floor
Fertilizer use efficiency model for managing nematodes and plant, soil and environmental health Haddish Melakeberhan Fertilizer application to ameliorate the ranges of soil nutrient depletions in crop production systems will always be needed. However, nutrient/fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) remains a challenge, in part, due to the lack of integrated assessment of agrobiological, ecological, economical, and environmental efficiency of soil nutrient manipulation practices in time and space. Among other things, addressing FUE will require multi-dimensional conceptual models and biological models, to indicate soil health. Nematodes, only 10-15% of which are parasites, are the most abundant metazoan and can be indicators for identifying soil biological conditions and nutrient cycling processes in rehabilitating soil degradations and maintaining healthy ecosystems. Using nutrient management to ameliorate nematode parasitism of vascular plants, we have developed an FUE model that accounts for plant and nematode response to treatment as well as soil health. This presentation will discuss the application of a fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) model for assessing agronomic, economic, ecological, environmental, and nematode (pest) management efficiency of soil amendments (organic or synthetic). Defined as increase in host productivity and/or decrease in plant-parasitic nematode population density in response to a given fertilizer treatment, the FUE model separates nutrient deficiency and toxicity from nematode parasitism as well as suitability of treatments designed to achieve desired biological and physio-chemical soil health conditions. By recognizing variable responses, the FUE model allows the user to make an efficiency analysis necessary for integrated management decisions such as identifying and monitoring changes in soil conditions through integrated analysis of NCS, soil parameters (eg. pH, nutrients, %OM), and plant response to treatments. Thus, the FUE model creates the proof-of-concepts needed to bridge disciplinary and cross-disciplinary gaps, which, in turn, will lead to developing integrated soil biological adjustment markers.