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Crop Cultivation: Potatoes

    Why study Crop Cultivation: Potatoes?

    Potatoes are the fourth most important food crop in the world and the most important vegetable crop in South Africa. Although the total area produced is relatively small compared to other field crops, potato fields form the back bone of economies in several regions of the country. This course provides students with a basic introduction to the importance of the local potato industry and an understanding of the most important production aspects to consider for successful potato production in the different regions of the country.

    How will you benefit from studying this short learning programme?

    The purpose of this short learning programme is to introduce students to the basic principles of potato production. This includes basic crop physiology, seed quality management, soil preparation and cultivation, cultivar selection, plant population, water and nutrient requirements and management. The most important potato pests and diseases are also briefly introduced.

    After completion of this short learning programme you will be able to:

    • The origin and history of potatoes
    • The importance and extent of the South African potato industry
    • Potato crop growth stages and basic physiology
    • The importance of seed quality, physiological age and handling of seed
    • Basic principles of soil preparation, cultivation practices and factors to consider for plant population
    • A brief overview of available cultivars and factors to consider in cultivar selection
    • Water requirements and irrigation management of potatoes
    • Fertilizer requirements and nutrient deficiency symptoms
    • The current status of input resource use efficiencies for the different potato production regions of the country
    • Brief overview of the most important potato pests in the region
    • Brief overview of the most important potato diseases in the region
    • Harvesting and post-harvest handling of potato tubers
    • The prospects of potato production in a changing climate – what can we expect by 2050?

       
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      Duration

      2 days

      • Location: Johannesburg (13-14 June)
      • Location: Western Cape (14-15 August)
      Certification

      MSA Competency based short learning programme

      Who should attend

      Those who are new to the production of the crop will benefit from studying this programme. Field staff in consultancy and the agro-industry will also find this programme valuable.

      Entry requirements
      • No formal post-secondary training or previous experience is required, however a background in agriculture would be beneficial.
      Assessment to determine competence:
      • Reflective journals and portfolio of evidence
      About the course facilitator

      Prof. Martin Steyn is Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria. He started his research career at the Agricultural Research Council and has been involved in potato research for the past 30 years. His research focus is on the agronomy and water requirements of field crops, with special emphasis on potatoes. He collaborates with several research organisations nationally and internationally and has published 59 scientific papers to date in peer-reviewed journals and more than 40 semi-scientific and popular articles. His current research focus is on the improvement of effective irrigation water management, potato production in a changing climate and the development of more sustainable crop production practices. He has supervised and co-supervised 47 postgraduate students who have successfully completed their masters and doctoral degrees and he currently acts as the supervisor and co-supervisor of a further 15 postgraduate students.

      Contact us

      011 950 4009 inquiries@monash.ac.za
      From outside South Africa
      +27 11 950 4009

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