Climate-Smart Potatoes from the Pacific Northwest

Managing Soil Health for Climate-Smart Outcomes

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Establish Soil Health and Carbon Targets

  • Develop Soil Health management classes
  • Set numerical target for management classes
  • Adopt Climate-Smart practices or management system
  • Employ COMET-Planner to estimate GHG emission reductions

Resulting Impacts of Soil Health Management

  • Reduce operation costs
  • Build water holding capacity
  • Suppress pathogens
  • Reduce nutrient and leaching
  • Contribute other co-environmental benefits  

Climate-Smart Practices to be Used from USDA-NRCS Standards:

  • Farmers/managers decide what works for their specific conditions
  • Implement management systems that store soil carbon in the rotation phase
  • Focus on multiple-year rotation effects
  • Add-in practices to enhance effects in potato production year
  • Identify additional natural resources enhancement practices

Multi-year Rotation Crop Strategies

  • Use no-tillage establishment
  • Cover crop and mixes added to potato and rotation crop years
  • Multiple-year perennials established once per rotation cycle – alfalfa
  • Rotation crops inserted after potato harvest and before next crop
  • Rotation crops with added biological attributes – Brassicas
  • Generate additional revenue through harvested forage, grain, or fiber products – sudangrass or hemp


  • Increased soil organic C
  • Enhanced nutrient availability
  • Building water holding capacity
  • Suppress pathogens
  • Reduce supplemental fertilizer need
  • Scavenge and cycle nutrients
  • Reduce nutrient leaching
  • Other co-environmental benefits

This work is supported by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities  Grant No. NR233A750004G026