Cultivar evaluation and maintenance
- To maintain nuclear plants of commercial, open cultivars in vitro.
- To carry out trials in production regions to test the adaptability of new cultivars.
- To plant trials in a scientific manner to ensure objectivity.
- To write reports.
- To make the reports available to the industry.
- Investigation into the Alternaria population causing early blight and brown spot in SA.
- To establish baseline information on the tolerance of Alternaria isolates to fungicides used to control early blight and brown spot.
Insect pest management
- To determine the risks that Tuta Absoluta holds for potato production.
- To investigate aspects of potato leafminer control in the summer and winter rainfall areas.
- To establish baseline information on the effectivity of insecticides on Tuta absoluta.
- To have information and knowledge available in various formats for different users of information, for example farmers, agriculturalists, researchers, etc.
- To do research in controlled environments to determine the effect of soil temperature on Ca uptake and internal quality characteristics.
- To evaluate the value of a unique system to do research on the effect of soil temperature on the root environment.
- A rapid method to determine the culinary characteristics of a specific batch of potatoes.
- Knowledge of how our climate affects the culinary qualities of locally produced potatoes.
- Information on safe and effective postharvest sanitisers.
- Identify where weight loss occurred most in the process of harvesting to market.
- To evaluate the relative tolerance of cultivars to root-knot nematodes.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of “softer” nematicides, rotation programmes, cover crops, etc. to manage nematodes.
- To determine how different crops used in rotation programmes in the Eastern Free State affect the nematode population.
- To determine effectivity of registered plant protection products for the control of some diseases.
- To determine the survival ability of R. solanacearum in local soils.
- To test methods to sanitise implements.
- To develop management strategies for Verticillium.
- To determine which pathogens are the main causal agents for soft rot and black stem in SA and to determine whether the population has changed since 2010.
Soil health and conservation
- To carry out long term projects in different production regions.
- To observe effects such as tillage, cover crops, rotation crops etc. on soil microbes, soil physical and chemical properties, yield and quality.
Virus and aphid management
- To maintain a long term database to determine changes in aphid flight and abundance as affected by climate, alternative host plants, etc.
- To monitor seasonable aphid flights.
- To determine how climate and climate change may change the flight pattern, species composition and abundance by using long term data.
- To be able to determine the source of virus in a production region.
Volunteer potato control
- Various registered (on maize) herbicides will be evaluated singly or in combination for the control of volunteer plants.
- Initial trials will be carried out in the glasshouse.
- The recommendations that emanate from the glasshouse trials will be tested in the field before final recommendations will be made.
Water use and quality
- To undertake long-term monitoring of sensitive soil water resources in the Sandveld.
- To see that information is available to farmers.
- To measure leaching of water and nitrogen in irrigated fields in North West and the Sandveld to provide a base to improve efficiency.