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Planting and Cultivation

Soil Preparation

Quick, even emergence and good early crop growth are essential in the quest for good yields of quality potatoes.

Where grass is ploughed up it is recommended that grass is burned off in advance of ploughing using Glyphosate. Deep cultivation (down to approximately 25 cm) is an essential start to seedbed preparation.

The aim of subsequent cultivations is to provide a fine seedbed with 12 - 15 cm of clod free tilth. Loose cloddy seedbeds will dry out, causing slow growth, irregular emergence and low stem counts. Wait until soils are dry enough, and then use an appropriate implement for cultivation.

Cultivating soils that are not dry often results in compaction, and damage to soil structure. This restricts the rooting capacity and subsequent yield of the potato plant.

Ploughed ground is usually cultivated with a heavy tine cultivator prior to bed tilling and ridging. Bed tilling and ridging involves cultivating the soil to a depth of 15 -18 cm, and leaving it in large ridges between 175 – 185 cm in width.

Stone separation is the process of removing stones and clods from the formed ridges, and burying them between alternate rows. This substantially reduces tuber damage during harvesting, and greatly increases harvester output.

The ridges should have been adequately cultivated prior to stone separation to ensure there are no excess clods to be removed. Soils need to be dry to ensure good separation whilst also avoiding damage to soil structure.

Varieties for salad potato production

There are two main types, round/oval and long oval, but a feature of potatoes for salad production is that they tend to produce large numbers of very uniform tubers.   Another essential feature of salad potatoes is that they are capable of producing tubers with a good skin finish.

Breeders are now focussing their efforts on breeding salad varieties and currently around 25 varieties are available for commercial production. The majority of these are round/oval.  A key feature of which variety is grown is to have a secure market outlet.

Shortlist of varieties

Variety

Maturity

Characteristics

Breeder/Agent

Round/oval varieties

Maris Peer

Second early

White tubers with cream flesh.   The market leader for salad production, mainly as the variety is off patent and seed costs are lower. 

-

Gemson

Second early

White tubers with white flesh. Very high tuber numbers and yield. Very good all-round disease resistance

Grampian growers

Jester

Second early

White skin with creamy white flesh.  

Greenvale AP

Perline

First early

Pale yellow skin and flesh.

KWS

Picollo Star

Second early

Creamy skin and flesh. Good all round disease resistance except tuber blight

Branston

Bambino

Maincrop

White skin with creamy white flesh.   Good all round disease resistance

Cygnet PB

Corolle

First early

Pale yellow skin and flesh.   Reasonable disease resistance

Germicopa

Vizelle

Maincrop

Extremely high tuber numbers.   Very susceptible to TRV spraing

Cygnet PB

Long oval

Charlotte

Second early

Yellow tubers with yellow flesh. The most popular long oval variety for salad production, in part because it is off-label but also because it has good flavour

-

Jazzy

First early

Cream skin and light yellow flesh.   Very high yielding

Meijer

 

Almost all salad varieties have susceptibility to foliage or tuber late blight

Further information on most varieties can be found at the AHDB potato variety database (http://varieties.ahdb.org.uk/)   or on the individual Breeder/Agent website