Calculating Potato Seeding Rat

When trying to calculate the amount of potato seed needed, the row spacing, within-row spacing, and seed size need to be taken into consideration. Typical row spacing in the Red River Valley is 36 inches. However, some potatoes are planted at 34- and 38-inch row spacing. Row and within-row spacing will change the plant population and seed needed (Tables 1 and 2). Within-row spacing varies depending on the cultivar selected, desired harvested tuber profile, and other considerations for your farm. Decisions on seed piece size will depend on seed availability, seed cost, and cultivar. Each seed piece should have at least one eye. The tables presented in this article can be found and downloaded from the NDSU / U of M Potato Extension website https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/potatoextension/tables-for-potato-seed-and-plant-population and utilized in a manner suitable for your operation.
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(Source – http://www.farms.com/news/calculating-potato-seeding-rate-107130.aspx)
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Humates and chemical fertilizers

 Intensive agricultural systems demand the use of large quantities of mineral fertilizers in order to supply the plants with basic micro-elements, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.  In doing so, we often forget that mineral fertilizer is for plants what illegal drugs are for sportsmen – you can immediately see high results but tend to ignore the future consequences.  The higher the amount of mineral fertilizer used, the more intensive is the erosion of the soil, the poorer the soil’s humus content, and the environment is more polluted.  The problem of effective mineral fertilizer assimilation is central in plant-growing.  The difficulty of its solution lies in the fact that water soluble potassium and nitrogen fertilizers are easily washed out of the soil, while phosphorus fertilizers, on the contrary, bond with ions of Ca, Mg, Al, and Fe that are present in soil and form inert compounds, which are inaccessible to plants.  The presence of humic substances, however, substantially increases effective assimilation of all mineral nutrition elements.  It was shown in the tests of barley that humate treatment (with NPK) improved its growth, development, and the crop capacity while decreasing the use of mineral fertilizer. (V. Kovalenko, M. Sonko, 1973.)  The tests on wheat showed that one-way use of nitrogen fertilizers on winter wheat crops did not have a high positive effect on the crop capacity, while its use along with humates and super phosphate achieved an expected positive effect. (L. Fot, 1973.)  Interestingly, the mechanism of interaction between humates and micro-elements of mineral nutrition is specific for each of them.  The positive process of Nitrogen assimilation occurs due to an intensification of the ion-exchange processes, while the negative processes of “nitrate” formulation decelerates.  Potassium assimilation accelerates due to a selective increase in the penetrability of cell membranes.  As for phosphorus, humates bond ions of Ca, Mg, and Al first, which prevents the formation of insoluble phosphates.  That is why the increase of humate content leads to an increase of the plant’s phosphorus consumption. (Lee & Bartlett, 1973.)

Therefore, the combination of humates and mineral fertilizer guarantees their effective assimilation by plants.  

     Thus, the idea of combined use of humates and mineral fertilizer naturally comes to mind.  Creation of such a combined fertilizer is a new step in plant-growing development.  It was no coincidence when over ten years ago an Italian company, “ Vineta Mineraria,” published a project, ”Umex: a new technological tool at service for agriculture of 2000.”  This project was about establishing the production of humate-coated granulated nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus fertilizers.  From 1988 to 1990, in Byelorussia, the vegetation field tests and production experiences were carried out to comparatively study new humate-coated forms of mineral fertilizers, such as urea, super phosphate, and potassium chloride, produced in Italy and Russia.  The tests showed that use of humate-coated urea in the production experiences with potatoes increased the crop capacity by an average of 28-31 centner/hectare, whilst at the same time decreasing the nitrate content by 40%, in comparison with the control group (urea). For root-crops, the crop capacity reached 200-220 centner/hectare, with an improvement in the quality of the produce. However, in spite of the impressive results, this project was not developed further, and these new preparations did not appear on the international markets.  Perhaps, the high cost of the humates, in comparison with the mineral base, was the reason, so the new type of fertilizer was not competitive.  However, with the new manufacturing technologies today, these materials can be cost-effective in modern agriculture.

     Field tests (M. Butyrin, 1996) showed that use of humate-coated urea increased the crop capacity of potatoes by 20% and that of oats  by 50%.

     Other important components of plants’ nutrition are micro-elements – Fe, Cu, Zn, B, Mn, Mo, Co.  Plants use a very small amount of them, measured in one thousandth or one hundred thousandth of a percent.  Nevertheless, they are vital to plants’ development.  For instance, boron resists certain diseases and increases the amount of ovaries and vitamin content in fruit.  Manganese is vital for the photosynthesis process and the formulation of vitamin C and sugars.  Copper assists in albumen synthesis, which ensures drought and frost resistance in plants, as well as their resistance to fungal and viral infections.  Zinc is part of many vegetable ferments participating in fertilization, breathing, albumen, and carbohydrates synthesis.  Molybdenum and cobalt are important to nitrogen assimilation from the atmosphere.  Considering what was said in previous chapters, the readers might pay attention to our explanations of similar effect.  We explained it was due to humate use.  But if you consider that the humates transport micro-elements to plants most efficiently and form complexes with micro-elements that are easily assimilated by plants, the seeming contradiction is easily resolved.

     Humic acids form complexes naturally.  For thousands of years, they accumulated vital elements.  When applied, humic acids also extract these vital elements from the soil in an accessible way for plants to form.  For example, iron and manganese, according to respected professor D. Orlov, are assimilated only in humic complex form.  Research by A. Karpukhin showed that the presence of these complexes determine the mobility of most macro- and micro-elements and their supply and travel inside plants’ organs.

Therefore, treating vegetating plants with humates ensures their continuous nutrition with vital macro- and micro-elements.

(Source – http://www.teravita.com/Humates/Chapter7.htm)

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Potatoes and Climate Change

As the fourth most important food crop after rice, wheat and maize, potatoes are of invaluable importance for the diets and livelihoods of millions of people worldwide.

The potato embarked on its successful journey around the globe in the 16th century, when the Spanish brought it to Europe from the South American Andes. From here, the potato found its way to Asia in the 17th century and to Africa in the 19th century. The crop’s comparably short vegetation period allows farmers throughout a wide range of different climatic conditions to find an appropriate season for its cultivation.

Global potato production has grown markedly in the past years, particularly due to increased production in developing countries. Improvements in crop varieties, seed potato and cultivation methods have led to higher yields. Moreover, a shift in eating habits in many countries towards more industrially processed potato-based products has boosted demand. In 2005, for the first time, more potatoes were grown in developing countries than in industrialised nations. The main producer is China, with a crop yield of 71 million tonnes, which amounts to over 20% of global production.

Global potato production has grown markedly in the past years, particularly due to increased production in developing countries. Improvements in crop varieties, seed potato and cultivation methods have led to higher yields. Moreover, a shift in eating habits in many countries towards more industrially processed potato-based products has boosted demand. In 2005, for the first time, more potatoes were grown in developing countries than in industrialised nations. The main producer is China, with a crop yield of 71 million tonnes, which amounts to over 20% of global production.

Potatoes are an important source of income for many farmers. In the Andes they are often the only cash crop grown by small farmers. In the tropical lowlands of Bangladesh and India they are cultivated mainly as an irrigated winter cash crop.

Potatoes enjoy particular popularity among farmers in the highlands of Vietnam, who profit from favourable prices. They grow the tubers as a catch crop, in rotation with rice and maize, and while the income they earn from potatoes equals that from rice, it amounts to twice what they could generate from maize and sweet potatoes.

Along with the familiar difficulties related to pests and diseases, potato farmers are increasingly confronted with abiotic problems. Farmers and researchers report an increase in water stress, changes in rainfall distribution and intensity, hail, and increasingly frequent frost and snowfall at high altitudes. The growing frequency of extreme weather events is generally interpreted as clearly related to climate change. The newest report by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2007, states that global climate warming is an unequivocal fact.

Projections by the IPCC predict a rise in global temperature by 1.8–4°C by the year 2100 due to the increase in greenhouse gases, depending on the scenario. This is expected to have grave consequences for mankind and the environment. The critical threshold is said to be around a temperature increase of 2°C.

Approximately 15% of the total worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are caused by agriculture. An additional 11% result from deforestation, mainly for the purpose of gaining cropland.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in agriculture are chiefly caused by the use of fossil fuels during all kinds of agricultural activities, as well as tillage, burning of crop residues, and slash-and-burn deforestation. In addition, agriculture produces around half of the global methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. These two greenhouse gases are many times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The main sources of CH4 are livestock production, irrigated rice cultivation, and storage of manure. N2O is released into the atmosphere through the soil following the inadequate application of artificial fertilisers and manure. By taking appropriate measures, agriculture has the possibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and thereby actively contributing to the mitigation of climate change… <more

(Source: InfoResources Focus)

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