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.
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.
MSA Competency based short learning programme
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.
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.