Agronomic modifications for mechanized planting of sweet potato

Parent Category: 1998

S. L. Tan


With the potential of sweet potato becoming an industrial crop, and the need for its mechanized planting to fulfil this role in the future, it is anticipated that certain agronomic modifications are necessary. Two aspects are studied in this paper: the effects of short-term storage of vine cuttings, and of spacings to suit machine-planting on the yield performance of sweet potato. Cuttings may be stored for as long as 72 h before planting. The best storage method was by evaporative cooling, involving sandwiching a layer of cuttings between wet gunny sacks laid on wooden racks. Leaving cuttings to wilt in a shady area was next best, and probably the cheapest and most practical. Spacings to suit mechanized planting (single rows at 0.7 m x 35 cm and 1.0 m x 25 cm; double rows spaced at 60 cm apart at 1.4 m x 35 cm) generally resulted in poorer performance, probably because these treatments involved planting on the flat with subsequent ridging. The current manual practice is to plant on ridges at 1.0 m ridge spacing and 25 cm plant spacing.

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