For farmers and others with a passion for soil and the life within it, the launch of the European H2020 thematic network Best4soil could prove to be an exciting resource. The public access site www.best4soil.eu is a unique decision support system providing information about the potential impact of a range of nematodes and soilborne pathogens and how they interact with individual crops in a rotation.
The database, presented in 22 European languages, is a decision support system to be used in the construction of crop rotations. This unique reference pulls together an amount of scientific research on the interaction of specific crops, diseases and soil nematodes.
The user can indicate the makeup of a rotation, order the crops in a specific way and create a scheme as to how each disease interacts with the individual crop and the impact of the preceding crop on the risk to diseases and nematodes in the current crop.
The user can indicate the makeup of a rotation and order the crops in a specific way
The comprehensive database can assess the risks caused by 137 different soil pathogens and over 30 different nematodes on 20 arable crops, 29 vegetable crops and 21 different green manures. The interactive website assesses the risk to each crop you select from the pathogens or nematodes you believe to be the main risks and presents what it believes the risks presented by that specific rotation are.
For those growing catch crops, it is interesting to choose different options and examine the risk of specific diseases in the following crop as a result.
You can choose your crops and green manures, make a selection of the soilborne pathogens that are present on your farm and then see at a glance which crops are at risk of damage and which pathogens are being propagated by the crops.
This information can be useful when choosing a green manure crop which, depending on the chosen green manure crop, may or may not cause possible damage to the crop due to high nematodes and fungal pressure.
Using this type of information, it is hoped that the use of crop protection products can be minimised to save on costs.
Best4Soil is a European project on the soil health theme. The website also contains other soil health information resources and videos to explain the simple principles involved.