» Potato

Potato Cultivation- An Improved Method

Introduction

In order to facilitate small farmers of Jharkhand to produce potatoes without using chemicals in fields, the methodologies are being described below. Here all the descriptions are being made for a plot size of 20 dismile. Practically a farmer’s plot size can be different; hence the farmer shall change the quantities accordingly.

Species Selection

There are several indigenous and high yield varieties of potatoes available to choose from. The selection of species is based on the purpose for which the crop is being produced.

For production for local vegetable market – Kufri Alankar, Kufri Ashok, Kufri Pukraj and Kufri Jawahar (80-90 quintal/ acre).

For selling in local market the crop needs to be reaped in 110-120 days. In this category Kufri Chandramukhi, Kufri Baadshah, Kufri Swarna, Kufri Sinduri, Kufri Lalima( one with red skin) are the species to choose from.

For processing the varieties to choose from are Kufri chipsona-1 and Kufri chipsona-2. Kufri Giriraj and Kufri Ananad too are the processing categories.

In Jharkahnd the small farmers usually produce potatoes as their main crop and the ones with red skin ( Kukri Sinduri or its subspecies) and produced at larger scale, because of greater demand in the local market. In some area, Kukri Jyoti and Ageti varieties are produced for selling purpose.

Selection of Seeds

Selected tubers of the potatoes themselves are sown as seeds in the field. After selecting species, for seed selection the following points shall be focused:

  1. Seed shall be purchased from trustworthy source
  2. It shall be ensured that the seeds are free from diseases.
  3. The diameter of the tuber shall be 3-3.5 cm and the weight shall be 30-50gram.
  4. The seed shouldn’t appear dry, yellow, with wrinkles or diseased.
  5. Other varieties of tubers shall not be mixed in the seeds.

Treatment of Seeds

If the seeds have been purchased directly from the cold storage then it shall be kept in a room or a hallway for 12-15 days before sowing. Seed sourced from any source shall be first unpacked and following segregation methods shall be employed to remove tubers which are

  1. Smaller in size
  2. Having cuts
  3. Having black or brown spots
  4. Appearing rotten
  5. Having wrinkled skin or appearing yellow
  6. Tubers with larger germination or having turned green
  7. Different species(based on colour or sizes)
  8. Tubers with skin colour turning green at different places

After Segregation the seeds shall be treated in the following manner

  1. In any drum or tank D-45 Menkojeb solution shall be made in proportion of 40gm per 20 litres of water and treat the tubers in it to kill the microorganisms that causes early blight in potato.
  2. In this solution put 10kg potato and leave it for 15 minutes. He tubers are then taken out of it and spread over some clean rag or cloth. In the same solution another 10kg of tubers are put and left for 15 minutes.
  3. Once water has drained out of the treated tubers, they shall be mixed with 40gm PSB(phosphate solubulaijing bacteria) and 40gm Azotobacter and mixed thoroughly
  1. Finally, 60gram Trichoderma powder shall be mixed in 10kg of tubers so that a thin layer of it forms all over its surface. Treated tubers shall be left to dry for half an hour in shade. Trichoderma acts as an organic agent against fungus and prevents diseases like early blight of potato. The tubers germinate properly and the plants are healthy
  2. The solution made of 20 litres shall be used twice for 10kg -10kg tubers after which it shall be discarded and fresh solution shall be made.
  3. All the treatment processes shall be done under shade. Treated tubers shall not be kept in the sun neither shall they be put in sacks.
  4. Treated tubers shall be kept in a room without sunlight. They shall be kept in some tank or basket between straw both from top and bottom to germinate.

Preparation of Field and Manuring

The tubers of the potato mature underground, hence the soil needs to be soft. The first tillage shall be done by plough which mixes up the earth and third and fourth tillage shall be done with indigenous plough During tillage all the woods, stones, remains of the last crop, grass, etc shall be completely removed and field shall be made fla.

For greater production of potato the field shall be manured with sufficient quantity of cown-dung, compost, vermi-compost or Nadep, as they ae significant for greater productivity. If it is possible then while preparing Nadep or compost, shoot of banana or water hyacinth shall be mixed being cut in small chunks. Both these composts are rich in Potash which is beneficial for good potato crop.

Along with this in 20 dismil land 3 kg zinc sulphate and 3 kg potash ( Meurate of Potash) shall be mixed and the tubers shall be made at the bottom of the shallow trenches. In absence of zinc not only the productivity suffers but the quality of the potatoes is also low. Similarly, Potash too impacts potato production and hence they shall be ensured in sufficient quantity.

Sowing of Potatoes

For 20 dismile land good tubers with weight 30-40gm shall be a total of 200kg. Because soe of the tubers are discarded while segregating the seeds, hence farmers sha buy 5-10kg of extra seeds.

Sowing time:  As early crop it shall be plated from mid- September to September end and as main crop it shall be planted between mid-October to mid-November. The early crop of potato is ready in 60-70 days and the main crop takes 110-120 days to mature.

Lining and Distance between pants: There shall be a distance of 1.5 feet between two rows of crop and 8 inches between two plants.

Sowing Methodology

With the help of hoe shallow trenched shall be made according to the plot 45cm apart. Their length shall be around 8-10 feet as greater lengths poses difficulty for irrigation. The tubers shall be planted in them with 20 cm apart in such a manner that they are neither too deep nor too shallow. Now with the help of spade the soil from both sides of the trench shall be placed over the tubers making 6-7cm high mound to ensure that tubers remain at their place.

Irrigation

  1. For irrigating your potato plantation following points shall be kept in mind:
  2. For potato crop from the time of preparation of the field till the extraction of crop moisture has to be present.
  3. In potato field the continuous retention of excess moisture is damaging for tuber formation, and growth and plant growth.
  4. For irrigating potato plants, the mound shall be irrigated at maximum of two third of the height of the mound, and equally irrigation shall be ensured between the ends of the trench. It shall be ensured that the water doesn’t flood the mounds.
  5. While furrowing the trenches shall be so made that the water distributes equitably along the trenches. The trenches length shall be made long or short based on the source of irrigation.
  6. The crop shall be irrigated for the first time during the germination itself(in 10-15 days when the small shoots start to appear on the field). Because either the germinating or completely germinated tubers are planted it wouldn’t take more than 5-7 days. It’s better to ensure moisture in the soil and the first irrigation is done 5-7 days after planting of seeds.
  7. When the new tubers start to form then the crop shall be irrigated but not too often. This ensures that not too many shall tubers develop and they are of the same size. This situation comes after 50-55 days after planting but the farmers can check for it by uprooting a few plants at the beginning of the mound. The formation of tubes can be observed as formation of small mustard type seeds of white colour attached to the roots. At this stage the trenches shall be irrigated to half the height itself and as per need every 5-7 days.  The formation of tuber goes on for a month.
  8. Last irrigation shall be done 10-15 days before extraction of the produce. This stage is reached usually 100-110days after planting when most of the plants and leaves start to turn yellow.

Weeding- Tilling and Preparation of the Field

Generally following this process of soil stacking eliminates the weeds and the plants of potatoes gets so dense that weeds don’t grow but if still weeds find places to germinate then with the help of spud, they shall be taken out.

Protection of the Produce (Pest and Disease Prevention)

Different pests and diseases attack the potato plants for which

  • Neemastra shall be sprinkled in a duration of 10-15 days.
  • Agnayastra or Brahmastra shall be sprinkled 2-3 times in a course of 10 days.
  • Pesticides made of garlic-chilli- kerosene oil shall be sprinkled near the roots and soil once in 10 days.
  • If Neem or Karanaj cake can in quantities of 30-40kg for 20 dismile land can be mixed then it can help in prevention of diseases and pest attack.

Disease Control

Some of the major and commonly occurring diseases in potatoes and their symptoms and their control methodologies are described as under:

  • For seeds only the healthy tubers shall be used. Diseased tubers shall not be discarded around the farming area. They shall be buried in a deep pit, and shall never be composted.
  • The tubers before being planted shall be treated with fungicides.
  • If the field has already been infested with some disease, the field shall be treated with Trichoderma.
  • If the field has previous record of infections, thenin the month of January, D-45 solution(in proportion of 2gm in 1000Litre) shall be sprinkled in the field two-three times in 10 days space. While sprinkling the stem of the plant and soil shall be sprinkled as well.
  • While showing distance shall be maintained. Dense plantation shall be avoided as they catch disease fast.
  • Over-irrigation shall be avoided and if disease spread fields shall be kept dry. Greater moisture catches disease faster.
  • Plants carrying disease symptoms shall be uprooted and shall be buried in a pit, away from the field. 

Processing after Unearthing Potatoes

  1. Ensure that during earthing the potatoes don’t get cut or damaged.
  2. During any course of extraction be it basketing, pilling or otherwise they shouldn’t be tossed. They get damaged during the process and later get rotten.
  3. The potato sacks shall be carefully lifted and moved. Carelessly moving the sacks dang damage the tubers.
  4. Moving during storage or marketing, no heavy equipment shall be put over stacks neither shall they be used for sitting.

Storage

If the crop before being unearthed wasn’t irrigated in last 15 days, has been dried in the sun for 1-2 days and has been aired for 7-10 days then the farmer can store the potatoes in his house for 5-6 months. For storage in the house any dark root with ventilation can be selected, where at an height of 2-3 inches above the floor it can be spread. Potato shall not be kept on the concrete floor. There is a tradition of forming Kotha (false ceiling) under the main roof to store potatoes. This is an optimal way of storing potatoes as the produce is well ventilated from all sides. In whatever place local storage is bring done, the stored produced shall be inspected and mixed in 1015 days and any rotten potatoes shall be discarded. In cold storage units the potatoes are stored at temperatures of 2-4 degree Celsius. If the farmers germinate their own seeds then potatoes shall be kept in cold storage exclusively.

Earning Expenditure Description
DescriptionCost
Production Material Cost 
Seeds 200 kg2000
Organica Medicines/ Manure150
Irrigatiton250
Transportation200
Others200
Total2800
Production 20Quintal * 1020000
Total Earning17200

3200 Families after employing this model have enhanced their incomes by Rs.10,000-20,000 annually.

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