Robert is Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Irish Potato Farming
Irish potato is one of the major food in different countries and also it is used as one of the cash crop in high altitude areas and it is commonly grown by smallholder farmers. It is becoming one of the profitable crop due to increasing in demand due to an increase in urbanization in different countries as well as an increase in fast food industries. The edible part is called the tuber and it's not a root but it grows underground. It is an underground stem.
Nutritional content of Irish potatoes
Irish potatoes are able to provide both the nutrition and energy required by the body. In addition, they are able to provide the following nutrients; vitamins, minerals and essential organic compounds.
Red and white are the commonly grown varieties. Red varieties takes more time in storage to get damaged, unlike the white varities, but white varieties preferred when it comes to cooking qualities.
Climatic conditions or optimal ecological requirements
- Irish potatoes give best results on an altitude of a range of 1,500 to 2,800 m.a.s.l.
- It requires annual rainfall of a range of 850 to 1,200 mm during the growing period.
- Irish potatoes give the best results when they are grown in areas having a temperature range of 15 to 20 °C and this is known to be optimal temperature. Irish potatoes require a cool climatic conditions, unlike other crops. The tuberization takes place when the temperature is around 15 °C.
- It requires a free draining fertile medium loams and when it comes to soil pH, Irish potatoes do well at a pH of a range of 5.5 to 7.5.
To get more yield on Irish potatoes, make sure you grow your Irish potatoes in areas where the sun is mostly available as its one of it requirements to perform well. Irish potatoes do well in a loose and well drained, partly acidic soil.
Land preparation for Irish potatoes
Make sure you clear the site where you want to cultivate Irish potatoes. It has to be ploughed when soil is dry not when it is wet. The ploughing has to be of a deep tilth of a range of 45cm to 50cm. Make sure you apply manure and fertilizers to the soil to get best results. When applying fertilizers and manures, make sure you apply the right amount and do a soil test to know right nutrients to apply for optimal results.
Irish potatoes are propagated. Pieces from the Irish potato start new plants and does not require seedling. Make sure you plant healthy potato seed to get best results. Avoid buying Irish potato seeds from a grocery shop for planting. Make sure you cut the Irish potato seeds 5 or 6 days before planting and keep the cut seed in a well ventilated place.
Key points to consider
- Make sure you plant a disease free seed when possible use the certified seeds. • •Make sure you produce at least 4 sprouts
- Make sure you keep the Irish potato seed tubers in a diffuse light to enable the development of short strong sprouts.
During planting make sure, you place your Irish potato seed at 5 to15 cm depth and make sure the tuber sprouts are facing up. Observe a space of 75 x 30 centimeters between rows and 30-40 centimeters within rows. One hectare of land requires 2-2.5 tons per ha. Only a 50 Kilograms of Irish potato seed are required per acre when grown at a spacing of 15-20cm within rows.
Make sure you do a soil test to apply right fertilizers and manures. Make sure the plant has adequate moisture and fertilizer during the tuber formation. Apply DAPP at 200 kg per acre and on acidic soils make sure you apply CAN fertilizer at 120kg per acre, depending on the result of soil analysis
A range of 850 to 1,200 mm rainfall is required for Irish potatoes during the growing period. So make sure you grow your Irish potatoes in areas having that annual rainfall range of that one. When applicable supply water through irrigation, but make sure, the field is not waterlogged.
Make sure the weed is kept on watch, as it may result in build up of pests and diseases.
Major Pests In Irish Potato Farming
Irish potato fields are mostly affected by the following major pests; Potato Tuber Moth, Aphids and Root-knot.
Irish potatoes are ready for harvesting when the tops start dying and its skin becomes firm. To harvest Irish potatoes, make sure you dig under the plants with a hoe or a shovel and uplift it to remove the mature tuber. Take a note Irish potato most of the varieties are ready for harvesting in a range of 95 to 110 days from the planting day.