Zimmatic Blog

Effective Water Management is Critical for Every Stage of Potato Growth

Jun 24, 2019

Effective Water Management is Critical for Every Stage of Potato Growth

Maintaining proper soil moisture balance is important for all crops, but it can be especially critical for potatoes. 

“Potatoes are shallow-rooted and prefer a more optimum soil water content range than other crops with deeper roots. ,” said James Han, FieldNET Advisor solutions specialist at Lindsay Corporation. “Depending on the growth stage, excessively wet or dry soil can reduce tuber yields, produce misshapen tubers and negatively affect processing quality.”

Effective irrigation management will result in optimized yields and size distribution along with quality of both seed- and consumption-grade tubers. Han said water requirements for potatoes vary with each of these growth stages:

Vegetative growth– After planting, this stage of growth begins when the eyes break dormancy and produce sprouts. 

Tuber initiation– Soil moisture levels should be watched closely, because water stress during this period can reduce the number of tubers produced per plant.

Tuber bulking– Tuber size and quality is closely related to moisture supply in this period. Total yield of potatoes is most sensitive to water stress during this period.

Tuber maturation– Potato plants require less water for tuber bulking during this stage, because of reduced transpiration from the dying leaves and lower tuber growth rates.

"For potatoes, the soil moisture content must be maintained at a relatively high level and depends on several factors, including cultivar maturity characteristics, plant population, water-holding capacity of the soil, climate and whether the tubers are grown for seed or consumption markets,” Han said. “To get it right, growers historically have had to rely visual inspections and complex calculations, but that’s no longer the case. Now, FieldNET Advisor® does the work for them – compiling all of the critical data and delivering the information growers need to decide when, where and how much to irrigate.” 

Using proprietary crop growth models, FieldNET Advisor tracks the development of each hybrid, including critical development stages and root growth. It also continuously updates the crop’s forecasted maturity date, provides an estimate of any yield loss to date due to water stress and projects potential yield loss through crop maturity if no additional irrigation is applied.  

“FieldNET Advisor will help you optimize crop performance while reducing water usage and other input costs,” Han said. “It does the work, so you don’t have to. And, because it’s integrated into the FieldNET platform, you can put irrigation plans into action with the touch of a button on a smartphone, tablet or computer – anytime, from anywhere. That means you have more time to spend taking care of other operational responsibilities.”

In addition to potatoes, FieldNET Advisor can be used on more than 20 other crops around the world, including alfalfa, barley, corn, corn silage, cotton, dry edible beans, peanuts, popcorn, sorghum, soybeans, sugarbeets, sweet corn, surgarcane, spring wheat and winter wheat.  

For more information about FieldNET Advisor, talk to your local Lindsay dealer or visit www.fieldnetadvisor.com.

For more information on the different crops FieldNET Advisors can be used on, check out some of our previous blog posts: