Mid West potatoes: soil and fertiliser management

Page last updated: Friday, 12 December 2014 - 10:29am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Crop rotation

Crop rotation or cropping sequence is important. The condition of the paddock and the practices used in the previous crop or pasture affect economic return and the economic, agronomic and environmental — soil structure — benefits of other crops in the rotation.

Although potato crops are often grown more frequently, a rotation of one potato crop every three or four years is usually better for soil management and gives best long-term control of pests and diseases.

Potatoes (or related solanaceous crops such as tomatoes or capsicum) should not be cropped on the same land two or more times or years in a row.

Continuous cropping often results in more weeds, pests and diseases and yield loss in subsequent crops. On sandy soils in new land areas, two crops of potatoes in a row may be accommodated without much yield impact in the second year.

Certified seed crops have special rotation requirements such that there is at least five years of non-potato or Solanaceous crops before low generation (G1 to G3) seed can be sown or at least three years for higher generations (G4 and G5).

Land preparation

A properly prepared seed bed is required. Sandy soils are easier to cultivate than heavier soils and may require less cultivation. Cultivation also provides opportunity to control weeds prior to planting by using irrigation and shallow cultivation to stimulate germination and then cultivation to kill the weeds when small.

Contact information

Ian Mcpharlin