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Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9040163

Responses of Canopy Growth and Yield of Potato Cultivars to Weather Dynamics in a Complex Topography: Belg Farming Seasons in the Gamo Highlands, Ethiopia

1
Department of Meteorology and Air Quality Group, Wageningen University and Research, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
2
Faculty of Meteorology and Hydrology, Arba Minch Water Technology Institute, Arba Minch University, P.O. Box 21, Arba Minch, Ethiopia
3
Southern Agricultural Research Institute, Arba Minch Research Centre, Crop Research Group, P.O. Box 2228, Arba Minch, Ethiopia
4
Centre for Crop Systems Analysis, Wageningen University and Research, P.O. Box 430, 6700 AK Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 March 2019 / Revised: 21 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
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Abstract

Potato is an increasingly important crop in Ethiopia. The Gamo Highlands are one of the large potential potato producing regions in Ethiopia. The growing conditions are different from those in the temperate regions, where most of the agronomical expertise on potato has been developed. The influence of environmental conditions on the crop in the Gamo Highlands is poorly understood. We conducted field trials with eight potato cultivars in six locations and during two seasons. The canopy cover (CC) and plant height (PH) were measured with high temporal resolution and tuber yields were assessed as well. The experiments were conducted near our newly installed weather stations at different elevations. CC and PH were strongly correlated with temperature sum (Tsum). Tuber yields differed among elevations and cultivars. Nevertheless, these differences were poorly explained by environmental variables. We also found that no single cultivar performed best at all elevations. The number of branches was a predictor of yield, suggesting that radiation interception was limiting tuber growth. Tuber yield was optimal when the number of days to crop maturity was around 100–110 days. We conclude that Tsum is a predictor of crop growth, but environmental variables poorly explain yield variations, which calls for further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: canopy cover; cumulative radiation; dry matter allocation; harvest index; temperature sum canopy cover; cumulative radiation; dry matter allocation; harvest index; temperature sum
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Minda, T.T.; van der Molen, M.K.; Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, J.; Chulda, K.C.; Struik, P.C. Responses of Canopy Growth and Yield of Potato Cultivars to Weather Dynamics in a Complex Topography: Belg Farming Seasons in the Gamo Highlands, Ethiopia. Agronomy 2019, 9, 163.

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