Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Potato Production Method & Care


Over the years, potato has become an important crop for both farmers and consumers in Pakistan. It is the fourth most important crop by volume of production and it gives high yields and high returns to farmers. Potato having a high nutritive value and these contributes more protein and iron than other vegetables in the average diet and are also useful sources of thiamine, niacin and several other nutrients including fiber. Pakistan is self-sufficient in potatoes for household consumption and relies for more than 99% on locally produced seed potatoes. Presently, it is estimated that the total annual domestic production amounts to around 2.02 Million MT of which 280000 MT is used as seed and 1.7 Million MT is available for consumption after post harvest losses. With a population of
roughly 150 Million, this accounts to 11 Kg per Capita per annum.

CHUNDA VALLEY SKARDU BALTISTAN (During potato production season)


Punjab: Okara, Sahiwal, Kasur, Sialkot, Sheikhupura, Jhang, Lahore, Narowal, Pak pattan, Gujranwala, T.T. Singh and Khanewal. 
KPK: Nowshera, Dir, Swat, Balakot, and Mansehra. 
Baluchistan: Pishin, Killa Saifulla and Kalat. 
Gilgit Bultistan: Gilgit & Skardu
These are the important potato growing districts, accounting among themselves for 78 percent of the total production of the crop.


Potato is a tasty, nutritive and highly digestible vegetable with 75 per cent water contents. One hundred grams of potato possesses 22g carbohydrate, two gram protein, 90 kilocalories energy, 13mg calcium, 17mg vitamin C, 11mg riboflavin 1.2 mg niacin and traces of certain other minerals and fiber. Potato is eaten intensively in a variety of forms such as boiled, baked, and cooked. As vegetable it is eaten alone as well as mixed with other vegetables and as snacks, the most popular of them being the finger chips. It has medical significance also.


Potato is grown under temperate, subtropical and tropical conditions. It is essentially a "cool weather crop", with temperature being the main limiting factor on production. Optimum temperature for germination, vegetative growth and tuber formation in potato is 25°C, 20°C and 16-24°C respectively. Tuber growth is sharply inhibited in temperatures below 10°C (50°F) and above 30°C (86°F); while optimum yields are obtained where mean daily temperatures are in the 18 to 20°C (64 to 68°F) range.

CHUNDA VALLEY SKARDU BALTISTAN (During potato production season)


Red and white skin potato varieties are cultivated in the country. The white skin varieties are Santé, Multa, Diamant, Hermes, Lady Rosetta, Ajax and Patrones while the red skin varieties include Lala Faisal, Ultimas, Desiree, Cardinal, SH – 5, Kuroda, Oscar and Symphonia.


The potato can be grown almost on any type of soil except saline and alkaline soils. Naturally loose soils which offer the least resistance to enlargement of the tubers are preferred and loamy and sandy loam soils that are rich in organic matter with good drainage and aeration is most suitable. Soil with a pH range of 5.2-6.4 is considered ideal. To prevent the build-up of pathogens in the soil, farmers avoid growing potato on the same land from year to year. Instead they grow potato in rotations of three or more years, alternating with other dissimilar crops such as maize, beans and alfalfa.


Potato is propagated vegetatively. Well decomposed farm yard manure at 200-250 maunds per acre is recommended to be incorporated in the soil before land preparation. Field is given a soaking irrigation nearly two weeks before sowing to provide seed tubers with ample moisture for germination. Good water penetration and aeration is must for proper growth and tuber formation. Excessive tillage and land preparation causes compaction and should be avoided. To be effective the soil should be plowed below any compacted layer within the normal root zone and then disk harrowed before planting. Spike-tooth harrowing to break clods and level the soil may be needed just prior to planting.


Seed spuds are the edible potato tuber that you use for everyday consumption. I’m sure everyone has at one time or another seen the white sprouts growing out of your stored potatoes, this is the potato going to seed. The point on a potato where all this sprouting action is going on is the potato eye. When purchasing potatoes to use for planting, it is best to buy from certified growers. Certified seed is certified disease free and true to variety. Using potatoes from the supermarket or any other non-certified source has a risk factor and is not recommended.

CHUNDA VALLEY SKARDU BALTISTAN (During potato production season)

Also potatoes from this source have often been treated to prevent sprouting. Starting with 
quality seed is the essence of a successful potato crop. Regardless of your source of seed potato, check them thoroughly for quality before planting. Your seed potatoes should be clean skinned without excessive blemishes, brown or soft spots. Splits, cracks, rough bumpy or warty looking. These are usually signs of one of the many potato diseases. The obvious rotten ones should be the first to go. Often it is your sense of smell that will alert you to the not so obvious ones, because the rot usually starts from the inside these are sometime hard to detect until the rot is well advanced.


Potatoes are easy to grow, but they prefer cool weather so you should try to get them into the ground at the right time. The time for plantation of autumn crop, which contributes more than 70% of the total yield, starts in early October and ends in mid-November. Spring crop contributing less than 10% to the total yield, can be sown from mid-December to midFebruary while the summer crop contributing more than 15% is sown in early April up to mid-May.

CHUNDA VALLEY SKARDU BALTISTAN (During potato production season)

 Well decomposed farm yard manure at 200 – 250 maunds per acre is recommended to be incorporated in the soil before land preparation Recommended NPK per acre is three bags of urea, 2 bags of DAP and one bag of SOP 50kg. All DAP & SOP is broadcasted at the time of 2nd preirrigation to easily dissolve in the soil. Urea is applied in different splits through fertigation system from 25 – 65 days after sowing. Contact between fertilizer and seed is avoided as it results in deterioration of seed tubers. Zinc sulphate 10kg bag 25% is also necessary to cure zinc deficiency.


While production of high yield potato crops in the home vegetable garden is achieved by watering potatoes regularly, it is maintaining a consistent soil moisture throughout the growing season that is the key factor. Water stressed plants are much more susceptible to disease and pest problems than plants that have a consistent supply.
It is good practice, in hot dry weather, to monitor the moisture content on a regular basis to see if the potato bed has sufficient moisture for good growth.
Potatoes need about 1 - 2 inches (2.5 - 5 cm) of water per week. If Mother Nature is reluctant to supply the necessary water, then some type of irrigation system is going to be required. When irrigating the crop, a few thorough night time soakings with a soak hose throughout the growing season is better than more frequent watering that just wet the surface. For best results let the water soak down a good 8 - 12 inches (20 - 30 cm).
Inconsistent watering can cause your potato tubers to produce ears and noses, become split, or have hollow hearts. This irregular growth of potato tubers usually occurs when the potato bed is allowed to dry out too much and then receives a thorough soaking.
Towards the end of the growing season when the tops are starting to turn yellow and die off, you can slow down on the watering. But, still don’t let the bed dry out completely. The potato crop, at this point, still needs to be kept moist. Harvesting in drier soil is easier and potatoes are better cured and ready for storage.
Good watering management and mulching should see your crop through the dry summer periods with a bumper crop to harvest.

CHUNDA VALLEY SKARDU BALTISTAN (During potato production season)

All pictures have been taken from our facebook fans living in a small village named CHUNDA  Skardu Baltistan (GILGIT-BALTISTAN).