Introduction to Potato farming – Package of Practices:
Potato (Solanum tuberosum) belongs to the family Solanaceae is the most important food crop of India. The potato is a crop also called as ‘poor man’s friend’. Potato is being cultivated in the country for more than 300 years. Potato is a temperate crop. Potatoes are an economical food; they provide low-cost energy to the human diet. Potatoes are a rich source of starch, many vitamins especially C and B1 and minerals. They contain 20.7% carbohydrates, 2% protein, 0.30% fat, 1.10% crude fibre and 0.9% ash. They also contain a high amount of essential amino acids like leucine, tryptophan and isoleucine, etc. In this post, we will let you know about Potato farming package of practices, Potato farming in India, Potato cultivation practices, potato farming guide, the economic importance of Potato farming, states growing potato in India, potato seed varieties, spacing in potato, harvesting and yield of potato in Potato farming.
Potato is grown in all states of India. Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, and Assam are the major Potato growing states.
Economic importance of Potato:
Potatoes are used as raw material for industrial purposes such as for the production of starch and alcohol. Potato starch called farina is used in laundries and for sizing yarn in textile industries. Potatoes are also used for the production of dextrin and sugars like glucose. Potatoes are converted into different food products such as ‘potato chips’ or ‘shredded potatoes’.
Climatic requirements for potato cultivation: Potato is a temperate climate crop, however, it grows under a diverse range of climatic conditions such as sub-tropical regions. It is a cool-season crop grown in India. The vegetative stage of the plant is best at a temperature of 24°C while tuber development is favored at 20°C. Potato is grown as a summer crop in the hills.
Soil conditions for Potato farming: Potatoes are produced on a wide range of soils such as sandy loam, silt loam, and clay soil. Soils for potato are friable, well-aerated, and well supplied with organic matter. Soil structure and texture has a considerable effect on the quality of the tuber. Alkaline soils are not meant for potato cultivation. They are well suited to acidic soils as acidic conditions tend to limit scab disease.
Potato varieties list:
- Kufri Chamatkar,
- Kufri Chandramukhi,
- Kufri Jyoti,
- Kufri Kundan,
- Kufri Lalima,
- Kufri Lauvkar,
- Kufri Pushkar,
- Kufri Red,
- Kufri Safed,
- Kufri Sheetman, and
- Kufri Sindhuri are the important varieties of potato grown in India.
Seasons suitable for Potato cultivation: In hilly regions, during summer, it is grown during March-April and in autumn, it is grown during January-February. Whereas in plains, they are grown during October – November months.
Propagation practices of Potato Farming – Package of Practices:
Selection of seed tuber: Potato is cultivated by planting tubers. Seed tuber is the costliest input in the potato cultivation process. The tuber is disease-free, well-sprouted and 30-50 g weight. The main advantages of cutting large tubers are to reduce the cost of seed and to obtain uniform sprouting of tubers. Tubers must be cut longitudinally through the crown eye and the weight should be around 30-50 g. The seed tubers are cut with a sharp knife before planting. Before cutting the tuber, the knife is disinfected with Potassium Permanganate formulation.
Land preparation in Potato Farming: Ploughing the land at a depth of 24-25 cm. Well decomposed FYM or compost (25-30 t/ha) is mixed with the soil during the last ploughing.
Method of planting in Potato Farming: Furrows are opened at 50cm before planting. The tubers are planted 15-20 cm apart on the center of the ridge and covered with soil. The seed rate is about 1.5-1.7 t/ha for round varieties and 2.0-2.4 t/ha for oval varieties.
Fertilizer application/Fertilizer dosage in Potato farming: Application of 25 t/ha of FYM and 2 kg each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacterium as basal dose and 120 kg N, 240 kg P and 120 kg K/ha in two splits; half as basal and the balance for top dressing at one month after sowing. Application of Magnesium sulfate at 60 kg/ha as basal dose is also recommended.
Weed control in Potato farming: The potato develops canopy in one month after planting and weeds must be controlled at this time. The first hoeing on the 45th day without disturbing stolon. Next hoeing and earthing up can be taken up at the 60th day.
Irrigation management in Potato farming: First irrigation after planting is given as light at 5-7 days after planting and subsequent irrigation is given at 7-15 days interval depending upon the climate and soil conditions.
Plant protection in Potato cultivation:
Insect pests of Potato, their symptoms, and different management practices:
Potato tuber moth: Phthorimaea operculella
Signs of Potato tuber moth include larva tunnels into leaves, stem, and tubers that lead to the loss of leaf tissue, death of growing points and breaking of stems. Irregular shaped galleries are seen with excreta near the tuber eyes. Chemically control the Potato tuber moth by spraying quinalphos 25 EC 1.0 L in 500 L of water per hectare. Treating seed tubers with quinalphos 1.5 D @ 1 kg/100 kg of tubers is recommended. Organic management of potato tuber moth include itercropping with onion, chilies are recommended. Earthing up at 60 days after planting and crop rotation is also advisable.
Potato White grubs: Holotrichia excise
Signs include Grubs feed on tubers whereas adults feed on foliage at night. Chemically control by application of phorate 10 G at 25 Kg/ha is also recommended. Non-chemical management/ Natural control/ Organic control by summer ploughing and hand-picking of adult beetles in early morning is also recommended.
Diseases of Potato, their symptoms, and different management practices:
Late blight of potato: Phytophthora infestans
Symptoms of late blight of Potato disease are water-soaked spots and lesions appear on leaves, turn purplish-brown, and finally, black colour Whitish growth develops on the lower surface of leaves and spread to nodes. Stem breaks at these points. Control the late blight of Potato disease by spraying Mancozeb 0.2 % to prevent infection of tubers. However, non-chemical management/ Natural control/ Organic control through crop rotation and grow resistant cultivars.
Early blight of Potato: Alternaria solani
Symptoms of Early blight of Potato are brown necrotic spot-angular, round shape characterized by concentric rings. Several spots join & spread all over the leaf. Shot holes present on fruits. Chemical management by spraying captan 0.2% to prevent infection. Non-chemical management/ Natural control/ Organic control is disease-free tubers are used for planting. Removal and destruction of infected plant debris.
Maturity indices/ Harvesting indices of Potato: The crop can be harvested at 70-120 days after planting. It is harvested when haulms start yellowing and falling on the ground.
Harvesting and yield of Potato: Potato crop is harvested at 15 days after cutting the haulms. Yield of Potato is about 300 to 400 quintals per hectare.
Conclusion: Potato cultivation is a boon to farmers with high yield and income if they take proper care and management.