Evaluation of anaerobic soil disinfestation using brewers spent grain and yeast inoculation in  annual hill plasticulture strawberry production

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Virginia Tech

Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is a promising alternative to chemical fumigation to control soil-borne plant pathogens and weeds. This research focused on evaluating several locally available carbon sources for ASD on weed control, evaluating the performance of brewers' spent grain (a promising carbon source) under field conditions, and evaluating whether yeast addition enhanced the effectiveness of ASD treatments. A series of greenhouse trials were conducted at the Southern Piedmont AREC (Agricultural Research and Extension Center). The greenhouse trials were conducted in PVC tubes, 20 cm tall and 15 cm in diameter. The first set of trials evaluated ASD conducted over 21-day periods of ASD using locally available carbon sources. The carbon sources included brewers spent grain, buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), paper mulch, peanut (Arachis hypogaea) shells, rice bran, sorghum-sudangrass (Sorghum drummondii), and waste coffee grounds applied at 4 mg of C/g of soil. The targeted weed species included common chickweed (Stellaria media (L.) Vill.), redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.), white clover (Trifolium repens L.), and yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.). All ASD treatments significantly reduced weed viability compared to the non-treated control. The yeast amendments enhanced weed control over ASD without yeast. The second set of greenhouse trials was focused on ASD using brewers spent grain, and on evaluating ASD at the half and one-third carbon dose rates. The target pests were the same weed species in the first set of trials, and Pythium irregulare was added as an additional target pest. This set of trials indicated yeast enhanced addition the effect of BSG in ASD on both weeds and P. irregulare, indicating the potential to reduce carbon input necessary for effective ASD. A follow-up, two seasons, open-field trial conducted over two growing seasons at the Hampton Roads AREC focused on understanding the effects of ASD on weed density and strawberry fruit yield and fruit quality in annual hill strawberry production. The treatments included ASD at standard or half carbon dose rates, with or without yeast. Fumigation (80% chloropicrin + 20% 1,3-dichloropropene) and non-treated plots were used as control groups. Weed suppression with ASD was consistent for most of the broadleaf weed species, and total weed counts were significantly reduced compared to non-treated controls. Yield from ASD with yeast was higher than ASD without yeast and non-treated control in one growing season, while the increase in yield did not occur in another growing season. Yeast may have potentially enhanced the yield effects of ASD but lacked consistency. Yeast may have the potential to enhance ASD effectiveness.

cover crops, ethanol, Pythium, yellow nutsedge, yield, fruit quality