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Productive Potato Crop Rotations

Manitoba’s potato industry experienced unprecedented expansion during the 1990’s. However, the intensive nature of irrigated potato production requires careful management to ensure long-term benefits. Based on 14 years of research, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists have developed economically and environmentally sustainable crop rotations for this thriving industry.

While two-year crop rotations look promising for short-term economic returns, AAFC has demonstrated that they present a significant long-term production risk. Short rotations lead to high levels of potato early dying (PED) over time. This leads to significant declines in marketable potatoes beginning in the tenth year. A large number of potatoes in rotation may also increase the potential for soil erosion and degradation due to the low levels of crop residue cover following potato.

AAFC scientists recommend that farmers adapt longer rotations to maintain productivity. Despite some evidence of PED, carefully managed irrigated potato systems will, over the longer term, result in sustainable and acceptable levels of crop productivity and nutrient availability.

Initial funding was provided through AAFC’s Matching Investment Initiative in partnership with the Manitoba Horticulture Productivity Enhancement Centre Inc.

For more information

Mohr, R.M., Irvine, R.B., Khakbazan, M., McLaren, D.L., Monreal, M.A., Moulin, A.P., Tomasiewicz, D.J., Volkmar, K.M., and Derksen, D.A. (2012). "Potato Rotation Study - Carberry, Manitoba (1997-2010).", Prairie Soils and Crops, 5, pp. 36-41

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