Responses of Canopy Growth and Yield of Potato Cultivars to Weather Dynamics in a Complex Topography: Belg Farming Seasons in the Gamo Highlands, Ethiopia

Thomas T. Minda*, Michiel K. Van Der Molen, Jordi Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, Kanko C. Chulda, Paul C. Struik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Potato is an increasingly important crop in Ethiopia. The Gamo Highlands are one of the large potential potato producing regions in Ethiopia. The growing conditions are different from those in the temperate regions, where most of the agronomical expertise on potato has been developed. The influence of environmental conditions on the crop in the Gamo Highlands is poorly understood. We conducted field trials with eight potato cultivars in six locations and during two seasons. The canopy cover (CC) and plant height (PH) were measured with high temporal resolution and tuber yields were assessed as well. The experiments were conducted near our newly installed weather stations at different elevations. CC and PH were strongly correlated with temperature sum (Tsum). Tuber yields differed among elevations and cultivars. Nevertheless, these differences were poorly explained by environmental variables. We also found that no single cultivar performed best at all elevations. The number of branches was a predictor of yield, suggesting that radiation interception was limiting tuber growth. Tuber yield was optimal when the number of days to crop maturity was around 100–110 days. We conclude that Tsum is a predictor of crop growth, but environmental variables poorly explain yield variations, which calls for further investigation
Original languageEnglish
Article number163
Number of pages27
JournalAgronomy
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2019

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