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NOTES FOR FARMERS.

SELECTION OF POTATO-SEED

J. Beverley, Assistant Plant Breeder.

Summer-time may seem somewhat early to think about potatoes for the next season, y but there is far more importance attaching to the matter than appears on the surface. Seedsmen do not always grow their own stocks, but supply the seed to farmers, who grow them at* so much per ton or by ths acre. There is nothing against this system if reliance can be placed on the grower. The latter

however, generally aims to get the biggest cropland it is therefore unlikely that he will make the rigorous selection which is of so much importance unless, the seedsmen enforce it under the conditions of contract.

One hears of varieties sporting different flowers, but this is due more to previous lack of care in roguing than anything else When potatoes are in flower it is advisable to look the crop over and fork out the wrong , varieties, which may be used for table purposes. For example, in a field of Up-to-Dates white flowering sorts would be rogues and should come out. Pure seed is worth more than a mixed lot; in order to

make a reputation for sending out pure seed one must, therefore, be careful in roguing. It is also necessary to cull ont weak and undesirable roots at the same time ; by so doing the quality of the seed is improved. I would advise small growers to select their own seed whilst the variety is in full vigour, just after flowering; in other words, to obtain inmature seed, sufficient for their own requirements from the best roots or. hills. There is a big demand in England for Scotch seed potatoes, which are partially inmature, as the frosts generally cut down the haulm of the main crop varieties before maturity is reached. When a change of seed is necessary it is best to obtain it from a colder or a later district, and, when purchasing, to make inquiry where it was grown. Change of seed every second year is advocated by many people as being beneficial to the general crop. Others, hdwever, find thiat abundant crops of sound tubets can be grown for years from selfsaved seed, if only the plant is well cultivated and a little cap is exercised in selection and proper storing over winter. I Potatoes produce best in moist, cool ' climates, such as their original home on the plateaus of the Andes. Hot, dry weather at the time of maturity weakens them for reproduction, and after such weather the disease which

the Americans call "spindling sprout' is often troublesome. Tubers affected with this disease either refuse to sprout or give weakly growths almost like cotton. If the boxing system is adopted, all the affected tubers can be removed before plantingtime, which is an advantage. The disease mentioned has been common in the south of England for some years, being known as "potato bacteriosis." Many theories respecting the cause have been advanced; one is that the starch of the tuber not being converted to sugar fails to provide the plant food necessary for the sprout to feed on and de. velop. Immature seed is mostly free from disease.

.As regards the size of tubers for seed, I advise a 2oz. set. If riddles are used to grade the seed through a l£in. and over, a l-|in. mesh gives a useful size for main crop varieties.

The storing of seed is a most important matter. Wire benches under pine trees are used at Moumahaki, thus ensuring sufficient light, plenty of air, and freedom from frost during winter. Journal of Agriculture.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19160314.2.22

Bibliographic details

NOTES FOR FARMERS., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3527, 14 March 1916

Word Count
604

NOTES FOR FARMERS. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3527, 14 March 1916

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