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Irrigation best management practices for potato

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Application of the principle of best management practices (BMPs) for potato irrigation maximizes economic use of resources while minimizing environmental disturbances. Potato is a shallow-rooted crop that responds negatively to variations in water supply. Reported research confirms the detrimental effects of small errors in irrigation management on potato production profitability. Potato water use has been thoroughly documented in the literature. Newer irrigation application and control technology is available to growers. Irrigation BMPs for scheduling irrigation by crop evapotranspiration (ETc) and soil water tension (SWT) are presented and discussed. In most cases only refinements of existing potato irrigation systems are needed; growers need to acquire some way to measure ETc or soil water, or preferably both, along with record keeping to track irrigation, ETc, and soil water. An increased increment of management applied to potato irrigation can return greater profits to potato growers while enhancing the sustainability of production by avoiding environmental degradation.


La aplicación de prácticas de un mejor manejo (BMPs) del riego para el cultivo de papa, maximiza el uso económico de recursos mientras que minimiza las alteraciones del medio ambiente. La papa es un cultivo de raíices poco profundas que responde negativamente a la variación en el abastecimiento de agua. Informes de investigación confirman el efecto nocivo de pequeños errores en el manejo del riego sobre la producción de papa. El uso de agua por el cultivo de papa ha sido ampliamente documentado en la literatura. La más reciente tecnología de aplicación y control del riego está disponible para los que cultivan papa. Se presentan y discuten las BMPs para programar el riego por evapotranspiración del cultivo (ETc) y tensión de agua del suelo (SWT). En la mayoría de los casos sólo se necesita un afinamiento de los sistemas de riego ya existentes; los que cultivan papa necesitan tener la forma de medir la ETc o el agua del suelo o preferiblemente ambos, junto con los registros para rastrear el agua de riego, ETc y agua del suelo. Un mayor incremento en el manejo del riego en la papa puede rendir mayores beneficios, a la vez que la sostenibilidad de la producción mejora evitando la degradación del medio ambiente.

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Correspondence to Clinton C. Shock or Andre B. Pereira or Eric P. Eldredge.

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Shock, C.C., Pereira, A.B. & Eldredge, E.P. Irrigation best management practices for potato. Amer J of Potato Res 84, 29–37 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02986296

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Additional Key words

  • Solarium tuberosum
  • sustainable agriculture
  • tuber yield
  • tuber grade
  • soil water tension
  • SWT
  • crop evapotranspiration
  • ETc