The potato is a plant with short (40 to 60 cm), shallow roots and so is sensitive to the soil’s moisture.
In addition, the roots absorb little water and this is often hindered by parasites such as brown patch or common scab. During dry periods, the plant leaf stomata close quickly, which causes a significant drop in photosynthesis. Water is important during tuber set and when the daughter tubers are growing.
Irrigation therefore makes a direct contribution to the increase and regularity of the overall yield, but also to the production quality and calibre of the tubers, while maintaining narrow spacing between plants. This means that it is a key element whether for seed crops or consumption. The contracts between producers and industrial companies generally include irrigation and fertilisation clauses.
In France, over 30% of potatoes are irrigated. Reel machines are recommended for long fields and pivots and lateral moves in other cases.