FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE TUBER NUMBERS IN A POTATO PLANT

The numbers of tubers produced by each plant is influenced by agronomy and varietal potential. A large number of tuber seeds per hectare will produce a crop of predominately small tubers, ideal for canning, salad or seed potatoes. A relatively low tuber number provides less competition per unit area and allows the crop’s energies and resources to be used to produce larger potatoes for the fresh or processing markets. Growers can manipulate tuber number by:- Selecting the right variety Minimizing growth checks at tuber initiation (e.g. drought, compaction), Irrigating to maintain a good growing environment Physiologically ageing seed to produce the desired number of buds per tuber.  Spacing seed to ensure optimum number of stems per square meter, Using crop protection inputs – such as herbicides and nematicides – to ensure the crop grows relatively unhindered and Crop nutrition is also essential:- Phosphate that is readily available at tuber initiation ensures maximum tuber set. Potassium can increase the number of tubers initiated. High calcium supply can limit tuber numbers where large tubers are desired

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