Helping the Western Australian potato industry capture winter production opportunities in the Mid-West
The Dandaragan area of the Mid West area appears suitable for expanding the winter production of ware, crisp and possibly seed potatoes to cover the loss of production areas further south and also for the future expansion of export markets. In this respect there has been expansion in area sown from 120 to 160ha from 2011 to 2012. Factors limiting yield were assessed by monitoring insects and diseases in crops and providing support for agronomic decisions such as irrigation and fertiliser management on 3 commercial properties in Dandaragan in 2011 and 2012. Insect counts on lower leaves of plants were recorded from 13 crops on the 3 properties over 2 years. At the same time leaf samples were collected from all 28 seed, 10 ware and 1 crisp crop on the 3 properties for virus analysis by ELISA. Volumetric soil moisture was measured under 16 crops using TDR probes inserted at 3 depths. This information was used by growers to adjust irrigation management based primarily on crop factors (Epan). The Croptest™ model (SARDI) was used to assist in interpretation of results from petiole analysis of crops either for general monitoring of the effectiveness of fertiliser programs or in diagnosing problems with crop growth.