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Better Rotations for Potato Production

Better Rotations for Potato Production

Kaloorup, Western Australia

  • Author: SWCC
  • Date Posted: Aug 27, 2014
  • Category:
  • Address: Kaloorup, Western Australia

Project Details

Project Delivery: Busselton Marybrook Potato Grower Group

Contact: Peter Clifton (SWCC – Bunbury). Ph: 9724 2469. Email:

Website: SWCC Sustainable Agriculture

Start Date:  June 2014                     End Date: Dec 2017

Site ID:  SF15

Size Are Ha: 17


Project Aim

To identify a rotation system that improves soil health recovery, yield and skin finish and reduces inputs. Different cover crops will be trialed and compare to the current clover/ryegrass rotation .

‘Visual quality is a big issue for us and results in a lot of wasted product. We think it’s linked to soil health. A few guys have started to increase organic matter and have had good results. I’ve also found that if you crop a bit of virgin ground that’s never had potatoes before, you usually get a good crop and a good clean product. So it appears that soil health is imperative.’ – Vaughan Carter, participating farmer


The trial will take place on two farms, one with clay loam soils and the other with a sandy loam. In the first year there will be a single treatment (oats cover crop) and a control (current practice: clover and ryegrass) per farm, but a second treatment will be introduced in year 2 (probably a brassica). In Spring the treatment will be mulched and the control sprayed out in preparation for a potato crop in January/February.

The following variables will be monitored:

  • Soil nutrients (major and minor), pH, EC, Soil OM,
  • Soil structure indices including clod dispersibility.
  • Crop nutrient status (petiole samples) at key growth stages: initiation and tuber bulking.
  • Crop yield and quality of product.
  • Cover crop and pasture (current practice) nutrient content


  1. WA Grower article page 30, published December 2015, based on Field Walk Two, 27 August 2015.
  2. Caliente Case study: Some group members have started to trial caliente as a biofumigant cover crop. SWCC went to a Soil Wealth field day in Manjimup on 17 September 2015 to see how David East Grows caliente. Here is a 2-page report on David’s operation.
  3. Field Walk Three – 2 November 2016: Read trial update based on previous work updated with information from Field Walk Three here.


This project is supported by Potato Research WA.

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