Cultivar evaluation and maintenance

  • To maintain nuclear plants of commercial, open cultivars in vitro.
  • To carry out trials in production regions to test the adaptability of new cultivars.
  • To plant trials in a scientific manner to ensure objectivity.
  • To write reports.
  • To make the reports available to the industry.

Foliar diseases

  • Investigation into the Alternaria population causing early blight and brown spot in SA.
  • To establish baseline information on the tolerance of Alternaria isolates to fungicides used to control early blight and brown spot.

Insect pest management

  • To determine the risks that Tuta Absoluta holds for potato production.
  • To investigate aspects of potato leafminer control in the summer and winter rainfall areas.
  • To establish baseline information on the effectivity of insecticides on Tuta absoluta.

Knowledge transfer

  • To have information and knowledge available in various formats for different users of information, for example farmers, agriculturalists, researchers, etc.

Potato Nutrition

  • To do research in controlled environments to determine the effect of soil temperature on Ca uptake and internal quality characteristics.
  • To evaluate the value of a unique system to do research on the effect of soil temperature on the root environment.

Quality

  • A rapid method to determine the culinary characteristics of a specific batch of potatoes.
  • Knowledge of how our climate affects the culinary qualities of locally produced potatoes.
  • Information on safe and effective postharvest sanitisers.
  • Identify where weight loss occurred most in the process of harvesting to market.

Nematode management

  • To evaluate the relative tolerance of cultivars to root-knot nematodes.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of “softer” nematicides, rotation programmes, cover crops, etc. to manage nematodes.
  • To determine how different crops used in rotation programmes in the Eastern Free State affect the nematode population.

Soil-borne diseases

  • To determine effectivity of registered plant protection products for the control of some diseases.
  • To determine the survival ability of R. solanacearum in local soils.
  • To test methods to sanitise implements.
  • To develop management strategies for Verticillium.
  • To determine which pathogens are the main causal agents for soft rot and black stem in SA and to determine whether the population has changed since 2010.

Soil health and conservation

  • To carry out long term projects in different production regions.
  • To observe effects such as tillage, cover crops, rotation crops etc. on soil microbes, soil physical and chemical properties, yield and quality.

Virus and aphid management

  • To maintain a long term database to determine changes in aphid flight and abundance as affected by climate, alternative host plants, etc.
  • To monitor seasonable aphid flights.
  • To determine how climate and climate change may change the flight pattern, species composition and abundance by using long term data.
  • To be able to determine the source of virus in a production region.

Volunteer potato control

  • Various registered (on maize) herbicides will be evaluated singly or in combination for the control of volunteer plants.
  • Initial trials will be carried out in the glasshouse.
  • The recommendations that emanate from the glasshouse trials will be tested in the field before final recommendations will be made.

Water use and quality

  • To undertake long-term monitoring of sensitive soil water resources in the Sandveld.
  • To see that information is available to farmers.
  • To measure leaching of water and nitrogen in irrigated fields in North West and the Sandveld to provide a base to improve efficiency.
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