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Waheed, A.; Li, C.; Muhammad, M.; Ahmad, M.; Khan, K.A.; Ghramh, H.A.; Wang, Z.; Zhang, D. The Growing Trend toward Organic Potato Practice. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 14 June 2024).
Waheed A, Li C, Muhammad M, Ahmad M, Khan KA, Ghramh HA, et al. The Growing Trend toward Organic Potato Practice. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 14, 2024.
Waheed, Abdul, Chuang Li, Murad Muhammad, Mushtaq Ahmad, Khalid Ali Khan, Hamed A. Ghramh, Zhongwei Wang, Daoyuan Zhang. "The Growing Trend toward Organic Potato Practice" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 14, 2024).
Waheed, A., Li, C., Muhammad, M., Ahmad, M., Khan, K.A., Ghramh, H.A., Wang, Z., & Zhang, D. (2023, July 25). The Growing Trend toward Organic Potato Practice. In Encyclopedia.
Waheed, Abdul, et al. "The Growing Trend toward Organic Potato Practice." Encyclopedia. Web. 25 July, 2023.
The Growing Trend toward Organic Potato Practice

Organic farming differs from conventional agriculture in not using synthetic chemicals. There is no doubt that plant protection issues are the most significant problems encountered in organic potato production. Developing a rotation plan and placing the potato crop in the rotation is critical to growing organic potatoes. The rotational design prevents crop diseases and pest outbreaks.

potatoes mulching rice

1. Introduction

The potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is the world’s most abundant food crop, producing 371 million tons on 18 million acres in 2019 [1]. Potato tubers contain vitamins B3, B6, and C and starch and polyphenols. According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, approximately 99 million metric tons (MMT) of potatoes were produced in China in 2020/21, a 3% increase from the estimated 96 MMT produced in 2019/20 [2]. Potatoes occupy 36% of the total farmland in northwestern China, making them the essential tuber crop [3]. Approximately 60% of China’s potato production is eaten directly, 10% is processed, 12% is the seed, 5% is food, and 13% is lost during storage, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture [4]. There is a relatively low yield of fresh potatoes per hectare in China compared to the United States and New Zealand [5] due to drought [6], disease, and pest infestations. As measured by an average tuber yield per hectare, China’s yield of fresh potatoes is 64.84% and 64.44% lower than that of the United States and New Zealand, respectively. Since potato grows in temperate climates, high atmospheric temperatures (mean temperature > 17 °C) limit tuber growth and production. The potato is, therefore, grown exclusively during the winter season (November–March) [7]. However, the limited soil moisture availability prevents profit-making crops from being grown globally during the winter. High temperatures negatively affect potato growth and yield significantly when the mean temperature exceeds 17 °C [8]. A high-temperature delays or prevents tuber formation in most cases, with the formation of tubers rarely occurring above 30 °C. Potatoes are grown in countries with temperatures between 15 and 18 °C and ample rainfall or irrigation during the growing season. Organic farming differs from conventional agriculture in not using synthetic chemicals [9]. There is no doubt that plant protection issues are the most significant problems encountered in organic potato production. Developing a rotation plan and placing the potato crop in the rotation is critical to growing organic potatoes. The rotational design prevents crop diseases and pest outbreaks [10]. Potato yield decreases by 15% over time if cropping frequency is increased to one-third of the rotation, primarily because of nematodes [11].
As straw mulching techniques can be used to increase soil moisture retention, control weeds, improve soil structure, and preserve nutrients for the cultivation of potatoes, this offers a significant opportunity for sustainable cultivation [12]. In addition to enhancing root growth, straw mulching facilitates nutrient absorption and improves the plant’s overall health, all of which increase potato production [13]. It has been shown that the progressive breakdown of straw mulch results in more organic matter being incorporated into the soil, improving soil fertility and boosting microbial activity [14]. To promote sustainable potato farming, it is imperative to conduct scientific research to determine the most effective rates, timing, and environmental suitability of straw mulching techniques [15][16].

2. The Growing Trend toward Organic Potato Practice

There is a significant economic and social impact associated with organic potato farming. This is especially true when the potatoes are directly sold to consumers [17]. Several features of organic potato farming make it distinctive, including plant protection, rotational design, seed and tuber preparation, and weed control. Growing organic potatoes presents the most significant challenge in terms of plant protection [18]. An organic crop production system emphasizes management practices that promote biodiversity, the biological activity of the soil, the use of minimal off-farm inputs, and the restoration of ecological harmony. There was a significant increase in organic potato production in the United States between 2008 and 2016. Organic potato acreage doubled from 8000 to 17,000 acres between 2008 and 2016, and organic potato sales increased fivefold, from $30 to $150 million. [19][20]. There are several factors that affect the quality of potato tubers. For potato plants to grow, develop, yield, and produce high-quality tubers, nitrogen is essential. A major difference between conventional and organic potato production is the nitrogen source and form.
To ensure growth, potatoes must be rotated and planted in organic agriculture. In addition to preventing crop diseases and pest outbreaks, rotational farming increases yields. It is estimated that nematodes affect 15% of rotations, which results in a decline of one-third in potato yields [21]. In addition to controlling potato wart (Synchytrium endobioticum), late blight (derived from oospores), and tobacco rattle virus (derived from nematodes), short cropping breaks can also be beneficial. Cropping seed potatoes once is recommended at a maximum frequency of 20%, i.e., once every five years [22]. In Britain, organic farmers grow potatoes less than once every four years. It is recommended to plant legumes as pre-crops for potatoes to improve soil structure, make it friable, and increase organic matter degradation capabilities. In contrast to grain legumes, grass-legume mixtures (leys) are assessed as the efficient and suitable pre-crop for a high-yield potato crop. Grass-clover leys grown for one year vs. two years showed variable results [23].
In organic potato farming, pre-sprouting is recommended before planting; this measure aims to avoid late blight by seedling development before planting [24]. P. infestans terminates vegetation early, resulting in a 12–28% yield increase in years with pre-sprouting before sprouting [24]. Pre-sprouting is also recommended as an additional control measure against R. solani [25].
When growing organic potatoes, weed control is typically implemented in two stages: in the early stages of planting, harrowing (chain) and re-ridging (again) twice, and in the later stages when the plants are grown [26]. Besides killing weeds, re-ridging also breaks up soil crusts that prevent soil aeration, builds stable ridges with more potato roots, and prevents potatoes from greening. As a consequence of late blight infections, which drastically reduce competition between potato plants for light, water, and nutrients, in late summer, weed levels are often high; high weed levels can impede harvest and, therefore, weeds and haulm are cut off before harvest, or sometimes hand weeding is performed [27]. Seed tubers are used to propagate the potato crop vegetatively. Whether the tubers are produced organically or conventionally differs from the production of potatoes for human consumption and industrial purposes. Producing seed potatoes has many peculiarities, notably narrowing size limits and controlling tuber-transmitted viral diseases [28].


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Subjects: Plant Sciences
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