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Effects of Presprouting, Planting Date, Plant Population and Configuration on Late Blight and Yield of Organic Potato Crops Grown with Different Cultivars

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Reza Ghorbani, Professor Carlo Leifert, Dr Stephen Wilcockson


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In organic systems of agriculture, integrated control strategies are necessary for the management of late blight. Agronomic treatments such as presprouting of seed tubers, planting early and in different populations and spacings should be considered for inclusion. They may delay and/or decrease infection and help to ensure that acceptable marketable yields are achieved before the disease prevails. Individually, their efficacy may be limited, but in combination with other components the integrated strategy may be more successful. Experiments in the UK and the Netherlands tested some potential components of such a strategy: presprouting (chitting) and early planting of seed tubers, which should encourage early bulking and evasion of the disease; choice of plant population and configuration to make the crops' microclimate less favourable for infection. Both early planting and presprouting (chitting) gave higher yields earlier in the season, before late blight put an end to crop growth, and were most effective in years with a short growing season (e.g., when the disease started early). Plant population and spacings within commercially acceptable limits had marked effects on canopy architecture but no effects on late blight infection. However, the effects on tuber size grading were large. At lower densities, tubers were larger on average. This was an advantage when blight infection was early, but could result in the production of too many oversized tubers if it was delayed or absent, unless the crop was defoliated. © 2008 EAPR.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hospers-Brands AJTM, Ghorbani R, Bremer E, Bain R, Litterick A, Halder F, Leifert C, Wilcockson SJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Potato Research

Year: 2008

Volume: 51

Issue: 2

Pages: 131-150

ISSN (print): 0014-3065

ISSN (electronic): 1871-4528

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/s11540-008-9095-0


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Funder referenceFunder name
QLK5-CT-2000-01065European Community (EU)