Consumer and market research, marketing and business management.
Reduced tillage in sweet corn, snap beans and carrots; Weed ecology and management; Legume cover cropping systems
Root-lesion (Pratylenchus spp.) and northern root-knot (Meloidogyne hapla) nematodes, for which there are no resistant cultivars available in temperate climates, are a major constraint in Michigan vegetable production. Phase-out of broad-spectrum nematicides under FQPA will exacerbate nematode problems and create significant economic, agro-biological, ecological and regulatory challenges for vegetable growers. Working with collaborating growers and commodity groups, the long-term goal is to develop alternatives to nematicides through an IPM strategy that integrates cultural tactics that suppress herbivore nematodes while improving soil health and biodiversity in vegetable production systems.
My general research focus is on sustainable agriculture with special interest in vegetable cropping systems. The ultimate goal of my program is to develop robust, resilient, and profitable vegetable cropping systems. Our laboratory is actively working to better understand how plant biodiversity (crop rotation, cover cropping, soil amendment, etc.) and microclimate modification (mulch films, row covers, irrigation, etc.) impact soil chemical, physical, and biological properties as well as crop yield and quality. In collaboration with colleagues from other departments, we are also investigating the impact of cropping systems and crop management practices on plant growth and development, weed, pest, and disease dynamics; weed biology and ecology; weed-crop competition; allelopathic interaction between plants.
Dr. Zandstra authors the Michigan Weed Control Guide for Vegetable Crops bulletin. Current weed control research includes most vegetable crops, including asparagus, snapbean, carrot, celery, sweet corn, cruciferous crops, cucumber, herbs, lettuce, mint onion, pepper and tomato.