Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) belongs to family Solanaceae is the most important food crop in the world of wheat, rice, and maize. Out of total root and tuber crops potato alone shares about 50% production in the world. It is a rich source of carbohydrates, protein and vitamins B and C. It is a wholesome nutritious and versatile food which can come to the rescue of developing countries for alleviating hunger and malnutrition especially in virus of the shrinking land resources. Better agricultural practices increases the production manifolds.
Climate and soil:
It can be grown in all the states with varying climatic conditions. About 82% of the potatoes are grown in the plains during short winter days (Oct.- March), 10% in the hills during long days (April- Oct.) and 8% in the plateau regions of south eastern, central and peninsular India. Generally potato crop is raised in India when day temperature is below 35oC and night temperature is not above 20oC. Most potato genotype do not tuberize when night temperature is more than 23oC.
Potato can be grown in all type of soils having pH in the range of 5.5-8.0. Deep alluvial soils of Indo-Gangetic plains with neutral or alkaline soil reaction are most suitable. Well-drained coarse or sandy loam to loamy soils ensures sufficient oxygen for the growth of roots, stolons and tubers.
The fields are ploughed to a depth of 20-35 cm. and clods are broken. Hot weather cultivation by deep ploughing checks the problem of soil borne pathogen. About 40-50t/ha FYM should be added at field preparation time prior to one month of planting.
Varieties Duration Yield (q/ha)
Early Kufri Chandramukhi, K. Alankar, K. Lavkar, K. Ashoka, K.Navtej 75-90 200
Mid K. Jyoti, K. Sheetman, K. Badshah, K. Pukhraj, K. Bahar, K. Sutlej, K. Lalima, K. Chipsona 1 and 2 100-120 250
Late K. Chamatkar, K. Sindhuri, K. Deva 120-140 300
Processing , K. Chipsona 1 and 2 300-320
Potato crop is taken in autumn/winter/spring season in the plains and during summer/autumn in the hills. The planting time of main crop in different zones are given as
Region Crop season Planting time
North- Western plains (i) Autumn
(ii) Spring October (2nd week)
December (Last week)
North- Central plains Autumn October (2nd week)
North- Eastern plains Main November (1st and 2nd week)
Plateau region (i) Kharif
(ii) Rabi June (last week) -July (1st week)
November (1st and 2nd week)
North- Eastern Hills Main March (1st and 2nd week)
North- Western Hills (i) Higher Hills
(ii) Mid Hills April (1st and 2nd week)
January (last week) - February (1st week)
North- Central Hills
According to duration early maturing varieties should be planted on first week of October, medium maturing on 5th -15th October and cut tubers after 10th October. To plant one-hectare area bigger size 25-30q/ha, medium size 10-15q/ha and smaller size 6-8q/ha are sufficient. Medium size (35-40g) tubers are planted on at 60X20 cm while bigger sized (100g) are planted at 60x35 cm. Large sized tubers should be cut into four pieces and each piece having at least 3 eyes.
Prior to planting seed should be treated with 1% urea + 1% sodium bicarbonate solution for half an hour to break seed dormancy. Seed treatment with 0.5% Mencojeb or 0.1% Bavistin controls the tuber rot, then treat the tuber with Azotobactor and dried in shade for planting.
Manure and Fertilizers
To raise healthy crop of potato about 125-150 kg n, 100 kg P2O5 and K2O/ha is sufficient. Half doses of N and full doses of P2O5 and K2O should be applied at planting time as band placement. Remaining half dose of n should be applied in two split doses at the time of earthing up i.e. 30 and 45 DAP.
Irrigation depends upon the prevailing weather conditions. Crop should be irrigated when germination starts. Subsequent irrigations are given at 7-10 days in lighter soils and 10-15 days intervals in heavier soils. Ridges should not be submerged but irrigated up to 2/3 heights of ridges. Excessive irrigation causes development of cracks and lenticels.
After 30-35 days of planting plants should be earthed up and could be repeated if required. It reduces the percentage of green tubers in lighter soils.
Manual weeding is a common practice, but weeds can be chemically controlled by applying Lasso @ 5-6 liter or Stomp @ 4-5 liter in 625 liter of water/hectare. Enough moisture availability is essential for effective weed control.
Plant protection measure
Potato is prone to insect pest and diseases. Important insects like Jassids (Amrasca biguttulla) suck the sap from undersurface of the tender leaves; Aphid (Myzus persicae) sucks the sap and transmits the viruses. These pests could be controlled by spraying of 0.1% Rogore 30EC or Metasystox 25 EC and repeat the spray as per need.
Among the diseases in hilly regions late blight of potato (Phytopthora infestans) affects stem, leaves tubers and causes heavy loss in yield. It appears as black lesions, which extends and kills the foliage if moist weather prevails. Spraying 0.2% solution of Indofil M-45 and repeat the spray at 7 days intervals can control disease. The black scurf and common scab disease are prevalent in all potato growing areas. Black scurf (Rhizoctonia solani) causing rough incrustations on the surface and wilting of plant, while in common scab hard and round corky spots appear on tuber. These diseases can be controlled by using disease free seeds for planting or dipping the tubers in 0.25% Emisan for 15-20 minutes prior to cold storage.
Harvesting is done at full mature stage (leaves turn yellow and dried), irrigation must be stopped 20 days before harvesting.
After harvesting tubers are sorted out and kept in a heap for about 10-15 days so that their skin may become thick.
About Author / Additional Info: