|Tips for potato growers|
|Friday, 10 August 2012 00:00|
POTATO is a high input, high returns crop with certain demands on production know-ledge and skills. According to The Seed Potato Association, successful potato production is a function of availability of good quality seed at the correct time, correct growing environment and adequate crop management skills.
Potato production step by step
l Identify source of the correct seed, test soils for nematodes and get fertiliser recommendations in regard to soil pH.
l Ensure storage sheds are clean and free from pests and diseases.
l Purchase seed and other inputs.
l Grade seed and eliminate rots. Determine plant spacing.
l Sprout seed and prepare land. Fumigate soils (optional).
l Harden the sprouts under diffuse light.
l When seed is ready for planting make final land preparations.
l Open furrows and apply all basal fertiliser requirements.
l Slightly cover the fertiliser. Irrigate to moisten soil for planting. (Both operations are optional ).
l Treat soil with nematicide (for nematodes).
l Place seed in furrows at the determined spacing.
l Treat soil against white grub and wireworms (optional)
l Cover seed to attain flat surface
l Irrigate to field capacity
l Once soil moisture allows, inspect and cover exposed seed tubers.
l When crop starts emerging, check for pests and diseases.
l Follow irrigation schedules.
l Two to three weeks after emergence, apply top dressing and ridge the crop.
l Top dressing at this time should not exceed 130kg (40kg) Ammonium Nitrate per hectare. If done in excess, tuber initiation will be impaired.
l Continue irrigation schedules and pests and disease control.
l Prepare storage shed.
l When crop is mature and tuber skin is set, lifting can start.
l Lift, eliminate rots and store potatoes in the storage shed.
l Grade potatoes properly, bag them and cleanly dispatch them.
l Destroy any potato remnants that could be a host of pests and diseases.