Crop, soil and water management systems may alter microclimatic conditions of agronomic crops and substantially affect plant growth and pest dynamics. However, the extent to which this may impact meteorological variables of potato canopy in a humid temperate region has not been substantially determined. Field plots of Russet Burbank potato were established to assess the potential impacts of different management systems on meteorological variables and subsequent effects on disease dynamics during the cropping cycle. The effects of five cropping systems (i.e Status Quo -SQ, Continuous Potato -PP, Soil Conserving -SC, Disease Suppressive -DS, and Soil Improving -SI) and irrigation application on meteorological variables of potato canopy were investigated from 2006 to 2009. Air and soil temperatures, relative humidity, leaf wetness, and soil water potential were assessed during the potato cropping cycle (May to September). The cropping systems had diverse, but limited significant effects on the meteorological variables of a Russet Burbank potato canopy, implying that treatment effects were similar. It appears that climate induced effects from the environment surrounding field plots substantially negated any cropping system or water treatment effects in field plots. In contrast, data for potato disease development, including early blight, stem canker, black scurf, and common scab, demonstrated consistent significant effects due to management system, indicating that disease parameters were affected by cropping system factors not related to potato canopy microclimate. These results suggest that in a humid environment, selective use of systems management may optimize potato growth and productivity and simultaneously minimize adverse microclimate.
2014 The Society of Agricultural Meteorology of Japan