On-farm soil frost control has been used for the management of volunteer potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.), a serious weed problem caused by climate change, in northern Japan. Deep soil frost penetration is necessary for the effective eradication of unharvested small potato tubers; however, this process can delay soil thaw and increase soil wetting in spring, thereby delaying agricultural activity initiation and increasing nitrous oxide emissions from soil. Conversely, shallow soil frost development helps over-wintering of unharvested potato tubers and nitrate leaching from surface soil owing to the periodic infiltration of snowmelt water. In this study, we synthesised on-farm snow cover manipulation experiments to determine the optimum soil frost depth that can eradicate unharvested potato tubers without affecting agricultural activity initiation while minimising N pollution from agricultural soil. The optimum soil frost depth was estimated to be 0.28-0.33 m on the basis of the annual maximum soil frost depth. Soil frost control is a promising practice to alleviate climate change effects on agriculture in cold regions, which was initiated by local farmers and further promoted by national and local research institutes.
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