Kamote or Sweet Potato Production with Cost Analysis

Sweet potatoes are the tuberous roots of vining plants. These vines root wherever they touch the ground and can produce a generous harvest. There are also bush varieties, for smaller gardens. The orange fleshed sweet potatoes are the most familiar, but sweet potatoes can be white, yellow and even purple.

Sweet potatoes are easy to grow in places with more than a 120-day growing season. They are usually grown in sandy soil, which makes them easier to dig, but they thrive in most soils, even heavy clays.

Varieties

The following varieties have field resistance to scab and weevil and can be grown in all regions of the country. It’s also  suitable for starch production.

a. PSBSp-17

  • average root yield: 17.4 tons/hectare (t/ha)
  • maturity: 105-120 days
  • root dry matter, 30.1%; root starch content, 21.0%
  • tuberous roots have purple skin and yellow flesh
  • light green foliage

b. NSIC Sp-23

  • average root yield: 16 t/ha
  • maturity: 105-120 days
  • dry matter content, 33%; starch content, 25.9%
  • tuberous roots have purple skin and yellow flesh
  • green foliage, slightly toothed margins with purple base and veins

c. NSIC Sp-31

  • average root yield: 16.3 t/ha maturity: 105-120 days
  • root dry matter, 32.9%; root starch content, 23.8%; root protein, 1.77%
  • tuberous obovate roots with dark purple skin and white flesh
  • green foliage with purple margins

Crop Production

a. Land Preparation

  1. Plow and harrow the soil once when using a tractor. When using an animal-drawn implement, plow once and harrow twice.
  2. Make furrows at 75 cm distance.

b. Planting

  1. Plant 25-30 m long vine cuttings vertically or slightly inclined to the soil.
  2. Plant in ridges during the rainy season and in furrows during dry season spaced at 30 cm between hills.
  3. Use cuttings as soon as possible but in case the cuttings need to be stored, keep moist for 2-3 days in cool and shaded places.
  4. Replant missing hills 1-2 weeks after planting.

c. Fertilization

  1. Apply well-decomposed manure or compost at the rate of 10-15 bags/ ha, if necessary.
  2. Apply 6 bags/ha of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) along rows and cover with a thin layer of soil before cuttings are planted.
  3. Sidedress with Urea (46-0-0) 2 months after planting.

d. Irrigation

  1. Water the field just after planting if soil is dry.
  2. During the dry season, water the plants regularly or during the first 2 months after planting and when needed.
  3. Provide drainage because the crop is sensitive to water-logging.

e. Weeding/Cultivation

  1. Control weeds especially Ipomoea triloba (‘kamo-kamotehan’) on the 1st and 2nd months from planting.
  2. After 2 months, do not weed so as not to disturb root development. Just uproot or cut tall weeds.
  3. Off-bar 3-4 weeks after planting and hill-up 2-4 weeks later.

f. Insect Pest and Disease Management

  1. Sweet potato weevil is the major problem in tuber production during the dry season. It attacks both vine and fleshy roots.
  2. Plant during September or October to avoid the peak of weevil population during summer
  3. Choose sandy loam soil and avoid clayey soil which develops cracks through which weevils enter.
  4. Use clean or uninfested planting materials.
  5. Dip planting materials in insecticide before planting to reduce infestation.
  6. Practice crop rotation or the planting of two other crops one after the other.
  7. Use sex pheromone traps to attract and control male weevils to reduce population.
  8. Use chemicals only as a last resort.

g. Harvesting

  1. Sample some tubers 90 days from planting.
  2. Harvest tubers in about 3-5 months from planting depending on the cultivar used and environmental conditions.
  3. Sell the harvest right away. If not, store the harvest in a shaded place.

Cost Analysis

For more information, please contact:

Crop Science Cluster-Institute of Plant Breeding
College of Agriculture, UP Los Banos College, Laguna
Tel. Nos.: (049) 536-5287; 576-0090

PCARRD, Los Banos, Laguna
Tei. Nos.: (049) 536-0014 to 20; 536-5907
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www. pcarrd.dost.gov.ph

photo from scroochchronicles.com

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