4 Ways Plant Tissue Analysis Helps Your Potato Farm
Updated: Nov 25, 2022
Once seeds are planted, it’s game on! Most potato varieties are in the ground for 90 to 120 days before getting harvested, so growers must make the most of this time window to ensure they get the best outcome possible by the end of the season. With so much effort and resources going into the crop each year, growers are always looking for proactive ways to manage their resources, always striving for maximum yield. One of the best ways to do this is to monitor the health of crops at regular intervals throughout the season. Here are four ways plant tissue analysis can help your potato farm.
Boots On The Ground All Season
Performing plant tissue analysis requires that physical plant tissue samples be gathered. The only way to do this is to have a scout in the field picking up those samples. Not only does this bring actionable data into your operation but having boots on the ground also means having eyes in the field. Having a scout in your fields allows you to make visual assessments for pests, diseases, potential deficiencies, and other conditions of interest. Not only will you be gathering data on the health of your crops, but you will also have the confidence that all your fields will be continually looked after.
Understand Your Crop's Health and its Needs
As the previous point mentions, it is essential to get visual checks on crops throughout the season, but plant tissue analysis takes that visual assessment one step further. For example, a scout may point out that a field looks underperforming because of visual indicators, such as the greenness of the canopy. That assessment might be correct, but it is only a hypothesis until it can be backed up with data. That is where plant tissue analysis becomes crucial; by assessing the condition and health of the crop, specific deficiencies can be properly identified. In an ideal scenario, any deficiencies are detected by the plant tissue analysis results before visual signs show up. Knowing the root cause of a problem is the first step in fixing it.
Monitor the Effects of Your Actions
After analytical results are obtained and the root cause of a problem has been identified, an agronomist can make recommendations to address the issue. Correcting a problem during the season can have significant upside in terms of yield and quality at the end of the season. One of the most powerful aspects of the entire plant sampling and analysis process is the ability to establish a feedback loop on the information gathered. Do you want to know if the solution your agronomist recommended to fix a particular deficiency is working? Take another tissue sample one week later and assess the effectiveness of your actions in solving that specific problem. Identify a problem, take action, and monitor the effects of your actions. It is a straightforward process that can be repeated throughout the season to ensure you do not leave any money in the field!
Gather Information Year Over Year
Besides the immediate impacts of plant tissue analysis described above, there are also long-term benefits to implementing this strategy on your farm. Gathering substantial amounts of data over time can be very impactful. Tracking the performance history of problematic fields can give valuable insights into what measures should be taken to address such problems. Comparing the performance of farmland before and after rotations, and assessing the effectiveness of soil amendments, are all practices that can directly lead to increased performance and sustainability of any farm.
Making the most of a short growing season is a challenge all farmers are familiar with. Knowing what your crops need when to apply products, and getting feedback on your actions are all critical aspects of maximizing your time. The information is there to be gathered. It is time we harnessed its full potential!