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During ginseng production, pesticides are intensively applied to the fields, creating risks to farm workers health and the environment. To reduce pest infestation, and consequently pesticide loading, organic mulches with potential disease suppressive properties were investigated as replacements for the conventional straw mulch. A four year study was initiated as ginseng is usually harvested after four years in Wisconsin. The results after one year are being presented. Anaerobic digestate solids (dairy manure feedstock) and vermicompost (grain feedstock) were applied at rates of 1/2″ or 1″ per plot, prior to planting (fall) and/ or in the spring prior to germination. Soil samples were obtained one month following planting to determine seed damage by pest infestation; germination rates were calculated in the spring. Fewer seeds were damaged by pests in the plots with anaerobic digestate (AD) solids mulch compared to the vermicompost plots, and were similar to the controls. Germination rates for certain vermicompost and AD solids plots were equivalent to the controls. AD solids and vermicompost mulch showed beneficial results after the first year of this experiment.
Jonathan Rivin, University of Wisconsin Extension email@example.com
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