The Canon of Potato Science: 31. Irrigation


Potato crop water needs are well known, but the water needs are not always met by rainfall. Irrigation is water applied to supplement crop needs. Much of the world’s potato production occurs in arid or semiarid regions where tuber yield and quality are promoted by irrigation. More arid climates can have comparative advantages in potato productivity due to more sunlight and lower relative humidity. Lower relative humidity favours plant health. Yet, at every phase of development from early vegetative growth, through tuber set, and tuber bulking, potato is sensitive to soil moisture deficits and excesses. Irrigation systems used on potato include sprinkler, surface furrow, drip, and seepage or sub-irrigation. Irrigation water needs to be applied frequently enough and in sufficient amounts so that the soil never becomes too dry or too wet, taking into consideration the soil's water-holding capacity and the depth of the potato root zone. Regardless of irrigation system, it is essential that the field be irrigated uniformly so that no part of the field is excessively wet or dry so that yield and grade are consistent. Sprinkler systems are the most common including central pivot, solid set sprinklers, wheel lines, travelling guns, and hand-move sprinkler systems. Sprinkler irrigation systems can provide flexibility and efficient water application. Fields need not be flat and application rates can be adjusted through variable nozzle size, pump pressure, and nozzle spacing. Travelling guns are used in regions where rainfall is normally adequate, but may only temporarily be deficient. Sub-irrigation is a method used in soils with a porous surface layer and an impermeable subsoil or shallow water table. The fields must be level and the water table easily controlled so that the potato plants always have adequate water without flooding. Potato Research (2007) 50:331–333 DOI 10.1007/s11540-008-9072-7

DOI: 10.1007/s11540-008-9072-7

Cite this paper

@article{Shock2008TheCO, title={The Canon of Potato Science: 31. Irrigation}, author={Clinton C. Shock}, journal={Potato Research}, year={2008}, volume={50}, pages={331-333} }