Managing Nematodes, Cover Crops, and Soil Health in Diverse Cropping SystemsDOWNLOAD FILE
In recent years, there has been increasing reference to nematodes, soil health, and cover crops in the scientific and popular media. The intertwined nature of these subjects and the mounting science in the literature can sometimes be overwhelming. For example, the science gaps within the subjects and the information scattered mostly across disciplinary lines make it difficult to understand. To give stakeholders some level of integrated information they can use to make informed and integrated decisions, this bulletin summarizes information about soil health, nematodes, and cover crops in three sections. The first section gives an overview of soil health and composition and reproductive strategies of nematodes and the ways they contribute to soil health and nutrient cycling through the soil food web functions. The second section focuses on the effects of good agricultural practices (GAPs) on soil health and nematodes with particular emphasis on tillage and cropping systems, soil amendments, and cover crops. The last section, encompassing half of this bulletin, looks into the future by considering gaps in the science and current soil health and nematode management practices. Specific emphasis is given to a) nematode biology, b) use of cropping systems to exploit weaknesses in the biology of harmful nematodes with proven practices, and c) asking agronomic, economic, and systematic questions before making nematode and soil health management decisions.