Managing field transplanted hybrid potato seedling crops
Hybrid breeding in potato is a relatively novel and very promising technology, through which new potato cultivars can be developed and propagated much more rapidly. Hybrid ware can be established in the field through different pathways such as field transplanting of nursery generated seedlings, direct sowing and use of seedling tubers. Field transplanting of hybrid potato seedlings involves production of seedlings in a greenhouse nursery and transplanting into the field. The establishment and development a hybrid ware crop from field transplanted seedlings is influenced by various factors including transplanting shock and crop management practices.
As part of the PhD project to develop a resilient cropping system for field transplanted hybrid potato, studies will be conducted on the influence of various seedling sizes as well as other seedling conditions on seedling establishment and their influence on transplant shock. Additionally, we will define the influence of crop managing factors on yield and yield components of field transplanted hybrid potato. The crop management factors include but are not limited to fertiliser application and management, tillage practices as well as weeding.
The project work will mainly involve managing of field trials, lab work (processing plant biomass during destructive harvests), data collection and analysis. The work will start from May 2021 till the end of the project in 2024 and various topics on transplant growth and development as well as transplant crop management will be explored. Factors such as Tillage systems, harvesting moments and fertilisation and their effects on field transplanted potato crop will be investigated. We are therefore looking for enthusiastic Plant sciences students (or students from other related studies programmes) to support our research through an MSc thesis during the trial period. Our ideal candidate is one who is keen on conducting field trials on agronomy research and has experience in field work and knowledge in data collection and analysis.