Mixed planting of potato cultivars : growth, yield and leafminer damage in the cool tropics
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The influence of planting mixtures of two potato cultivars on the incidence of leafminer fly (Liriomyza huidobrensis (Blanchard)) and on damage to potato foliage, and the effect on growth and yield, was studied in two field experiments in coastal Peru. Climatic differences between the two years of the experiments (1983 and 1984) had a greater effect than did cultivar mixtures on adult fly populations and on the numbers of feeding punctures and pupae per leaflet. Mixtures reduced the number of pupae in the tolerant cultivar, but increased it in the susceptible cultivar; in contrast, mixed planting tended to decrease the adult populations and feeding punctures in the susceptible cultivar of each mixture. In neither year did mixture yields or intercepted radiation exceed those of the highest-yielding sole crop, although land equivalent ratios (LER) reached 1.19. Considering the cultivars' different maturity rates and their tuber growth curves, it is probable that the later maturing cultivar of each mixture was able to exploit available light after, and perhaps even before, senescence of the earlier cultivar. Mixed planting of potato could be beneficial but only to farmers who plant both early and late cultivars, under conditions where the early harvest commands a premium price.
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