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Impacts of seed and soil health on potato production

Rising production costs for process potatoes grown in New Zealand mean that yields of at least 70 t/ha are needed to achieve a sustainable profit, yet the national average is only 55 t/ha. Computer modelling predicts yields of 90 t/ha are possible most years in New Zealand.

This issue has led to a 3-year study (2015–2017), funded by industry and involving the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited’s potato research team, Alex Michel and Steven Dellow.

“We found that potato productivity was largely constrained by compacted soils as well as the presence of seed and soil-borne diseases, caused by the Rhizoctonia and Spongospora pathogens,” they say.

In a recently published report, the scientists discuss some of the key findings of their research, which will also be of interest to others involved in the potato industry outside of New Zealand.

Read the full article on this research on p.20 in the recently published Global Potato News magazine. Further information from or