Sweet Potato Farming Guide & Information for Beginners

Sweet Potato Farming Introduction, Profit , Process and cost

Sweet potato, locally known as“Sakharkanda”, “yam”, kumara, etc is a type of starchy food that is mostly grown in the tropical region and subtropical region which are also free from frost conditions during growing periods. However, those are botanically (scientifically) very distinct from the original Yam. Basically, this crop is mainly done for its sweet and tasty root tubers to use it as food by boiling it, frying it, baking it or by steaming it. They are highly used as cattle feeder for livestock farming because they have calorie in very high content.

Basically, these herbaceous perennial vine plant crops are native to tropical America and the nearby region which bears med sized sympetalous flowers and heart-shaped leaves in alternative order whereas bear edible roots which are tapered long with varying color ranging from yellow, red, brown, purple and beige. But, when it comes to sweetness white fleshy or pale yellow roots are less sweeter in comparison to red, pink, orange color flesh roots. Whereas the young leaves of sweet potatoes along with shoots are eaten as greens in culinary and salads. In addition this, they are the very good source of industrial alcohol, glucose, starch, and sugar syrup.

how to grow sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of food calories in comparison to the other tubers and root crops horticulture sector. These are also good cattle fodder which is full of nutrition.

Anyone can grow sweet potatoes and can earn a big profit in a very short time interval Since commercial sweet potato cultivation are able to grow all over the world, even in controlled conditions such as in greenhouses or in poly houses. So, let us learn commercial sweet potato farming, sweet potato cultivation or how to grow sweet potatoes commercially.

Sweet Potato | Scientific Name & Botanical Name

The scientific name and botanical name of sweet potato are Ipomoea batatas which belong to the family “Convolvulaceae” and to the genus “Ipomoea”.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have very high nutrition value. Of which, following is a list of some of the health benefits of sweet potatoes:

health benefits of sweet potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of starch, minerals, vitamins and some other proteins.
  • Sweet potatoes are high in fiber content in comparison to other tubers and roots with excellent taste.
  • Sweet potatoes treat inflammation
  • They are very rich in beta-carotene along with vitamin C and vitamin B complexes, iron, phosphorus. So, they are also helpful in boosting working the immune system.
  • Sweet potatoes are also effective for curing congestion of the nose, bronchi, and lungs.
  • The iron concentration in sweet potatoes along with vitamin C and some other nutrients are helpful in curing bronchitis.
  • They are also helpful in giving relief from the pain associated with arthritis.
  • They protect us from many kinds of cancer such as colon cancer, intestines cancer, prostate cancer, kidneys cancer, and some other internal organs cancer.
  • Sweet potatoes have a soothing effect on the stomach and the intestines and are beneficial in protecting against stomach related problems.
  • Sweet potatoes are very effective in the circulation of blood sugar level hence are beneficial for those who are suffering from diabetes.
  • The fiber content of sweet potatoes is beneficial to the body in water retention.
  • Sweet potatoes are also beneficial for healthy digestive system
  • Sweet potatoes are good for the heart health
  • They are also a good source of excellent fiber content
  • They are also the good anti-aging agent and helps in stay younger.
  • They are also good for healthy vision and eye health.

Major Sweet Potato Producer in World

Here below is a list of top 10 countries which are major sweet potato producer in the world.

  • China
  • Nigeria
  • Uganda
  • Indonesia
  • Tanzania
  • Viet Nam
  • Ethiopia
  • USA
  • India
  • Rwanda

Other Names of Sweet Potato

Shakkar Kandi (Hindi, India), hóng shǔ (Chinese), Sakar khand (Nepali), Süßkartoffel (German), kamote (Filipino), γλυκοπατάτα (Greek), batat (Polish), patate e ëmbël (Albanian), prátaí milse (Irish), Patata Helwa ( Maltese), batata doce (Portuguese), البطاطا الحلوة (Arabic), søtpotet (Norwegian), tatlı patates (Turkish), patata dolce (Italian), มันเทศ (Thai), Քաղցրահամ կարտոֆիլ (Armenian), satsuma-imo (Japanese), Domlong Chhvea (Cambodian), bataat (Estonian), batat (Danish), cartofi dulci ( Romanian), ubi keledek (malay), Zoete aardappel (Dutch), амтлаг төмс (Mongolian), Batati macaan (Somali), 고구마 (Korean), slatki krompir (Serbian), batata (Spanish), බතල (Sinhalese), батат (Bulgarian), cây khoai lang (Vietnamese), Ka Zoon Au (Burmese), ბატატი (Georgian), Saldie kartupeļi (Latvian), batata (Czech), Patate douce (French), Батат (Russian), sötpotatis (Swedish), Édesburgonya (Hungarian), hanzuu (Taiwanese), Gujarati (Shakkaria), etc

Where do Sweet Potatoes Grows?

sweet potato farming

Climate Required for Growing Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato can be grown in the tropical and subtropical region in the frost-free region with warm & humid climate conditions with ideal temp ranging from 20 °C to 28 °C along with evenly distributed yearly rainfall ranging between 70 cm to 150 cm for the maximum fruit production. Its also requires full sunshine for its complete growing period along with cooler nights for the healthy tuber production. However, it is possible to grow this crop at an elevation of 2000 meters above MSL (mean sea level)

Heavy rainfall during its growing periods may damage to the crop and resist the optimum growth of plants later results in an excessive vegetative growth of tuber. This crop can drought conditions for sometimes but is not able to tolerate the water stagnation problem. Also, temp less than 12 °C and frost conditions during growing season directly resist the growth of roots and tubers.

Soil Requirement for Sweet Potato Farming

For the healthy production of quality and quantity tubers, it requires to grow this crop on the preferred soil. Since is able to grow on a wide variety of soil but a well-drained and sandy loam soils which are full of all essential organic matter content with clay in subsoils is considered as the best for its optimum tuber production. The soil should be in loose and friable conditions since the growth of tubers takes place inside the cultivating soil.

sweet potato planting and spacing

The facility of well drainage is essential since this crop is not able to tolerate water stagnation or waterlogging during growing periods. And, heavy clayed soil along with compact soils and sandy land should be avoided for sweet potato farming since they have the facility of poor aeration.

The ideal soil pH range for growing sweet potatoes should be from 5.8 to 6.8 for the maximum production tubers. Take care that liming of soil is essential for those land which soil pH less than 5.5 since they resist the tuber growth and yields small size tubers.

How to Start Sweet Potato Farming

where do sweet potato grows

Selection of Suitable Sweet Potato Variety

There are too many varieties (cultivars) of sweet potatoes are available for commercial cultivation throughout the globe. However, the following is a list of high yielding and fast growing varieties of sweet potatoes which are popular for commercial farming for particular regions.

sweet potato varieties

Sweet Potato Variety Sweet Potato Variety
Allgold Apache
Beauregard Brinkley White
Bunch Porto Rico Carolina Ruby
Centennial Cherokee
Continental Red Cordner
Cordner’s Red Dianne
Garnet Georgia Jet
Hannah Hayman
Hernandez Jewell
Porto Rico White Delight
White Hamon Varsha
Konkan Ashwini Co 3
H 41 H 42
Co CIP – 1 Sree Nandini
Sree Vardhini Kiran
Sree Bhadra Sree Rethna
Gouri & Sankar Kanjanghad
Sree Arun Sree Kanaka
Sree Ratna Cross 4
Kalmegh Rajendra Shakarkand 5
Sree Varun Sree Arun
Sree Bhadra Konkan Ashwini
Pusa Safed Pusa Sunheri

Note: Find a suitable one depending on your climate conditions and atmosphere which is high in yielding and famous for quality production.

Land Preparation for Sweet Potato Farming

For healthy tuber production, the soil should be free from the extra material including weeds and rock and should be in friable conditions. Bring the soil in friable conditions and fine tilth form by giving about 3 to deep plowing. Tubers and roots growth take place up to more than 25 cm so furrows and ridges should be made at a distance of two feet. However, they can grow well in raised beds.

Propagation in Sweet Potato Farming

This crop is mainly propagated with the help of tubers clips and vine cuttings. However, propagation through vine cutting is more preferred and is a very common method of propagation.

how to plant sweet potatoes

Vine cuttings can be obtained from any well known certified nurseries. These nursery raised cuttings having a length of 20 cm to 25 cm and minimum 2 nodes should be planted on the field. These collected cuttings of vines should be dipped well in a solution of 400 gm of Azospyrillum in enough water.

Seed Rate in Sweet Potato Farming

The seed rate or plant rate in this crop depends on the soil type, variety and the planting method used for cultivation. However, on an avg, about 50 thousand cuttings of vines are sufficient enough for growing sweet potatoes on one-hectare land.

Sweet Potato Planting Season

The cutting of sweet potato vines should be planted from June to July for cultivating under rainfed conditions whereas cultivating under the facility of irrigations, the transplanting of vine cuttings should be done from Oct to Nov in the upland regions and from Jan to Feb in low land regions as a summer crop.

Sweet Potato Planting Spacing

Once the nursery grew vines attain required length size and nodes, these should be transplanted on prepared ridges having distance 60 cm and the distance between grown vines should be 20 to 25 cm. These cuttings can also be transplanted on the mound by keeping a spacing of 75 x 70 cm and about 5 to 6 cuttings should be transplanted on the top of each the mounds. The mid part of the collected vine cuttings should be transplanted at a good depth by exposing the two ends of the vine cuttings to the surface.

An immediate irrigation should be given, just after the transplantation of vine cutting to encourage the healthy root establishment.

Irrigation in Sweet Potato Farming

The frequency of irrigations in sweet potato farming depends on moisture holding the capacity of the soil, the method of planting, climate conditions and atmosphere. However, irrigate the cultivating field just before the transplantation of cutting vines. After that, irrigation should be done on the 3rd day of transplantation. Then after subsequent irrigation is to be carried out on the basis of need, at least once a week.

irrigation in sweet potato

Avoid overwatering to meet the proper plant and tubers growth however frequent irrigation is essential to meet the moisture level of the soil. In hot summer, irrigate the soil at about 8 to 12 times at an interval of 10 days for higher tuber production. But, do not forget to stop the irrigation in the field at least 6 days before the harvesting of the crop is going to be. Drain out plant base since excessive moisture supply lead to minimize the quality and quantity of tubers.

Application of Manures and Fertilizers in Sweet Potato Cultivation

Timely application of proper manures and fertilizers ins suitable doses ensure healthy production of tubers in sweet potato farming. So, try to apply all the essential recommended dosed timely to increase the yield. Apply about 25 tonnes of farmyard manure per hectare land to increase the soil fertility as a part of land preparation only whereas 75 kg of Nitrogen, 75 kg of Potassium and about 50 kg of Phosphorous is recommended during the complete growing period.

Take care while application of manures and fertilizers. The Nitrogen should be applied in two different split of equal doses. The 1st one should be given at the time of planting whereas the remaining one should be given after about 5 to 6 weeks after plantation whereas the Potassium and Phosphorous should be given in full doses at the time of transplanting tubers on the main field.

Pests and Diseases in Sweet Potato Farming

sweet potatoe pest and diseases

Sweet Potato Pests

The following is the list of all the pests and insect that are observed in the sweet potato crop.

  • Cucumber Beetles or rootworms
  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Crickets
  • Cutworms
  • Armyworms
  • Hornworm
  • Foliage Feeding Insects
  • Loopers
  • Thrips
  • Soil Insects
  • Tortoise Beetles
  • Whiteflies
  • White fringed Beetles
  • Sweet Potato Weevil
  • White Grubs
  • Wireworms
  • Hawkmoth larvae
  • Grasshoppers
  • Beetles
  • Leafminer
  • Silver leaf whitefly
  • Mites

Sweet Potato Diseases

The following is a list of some common diseases of sweet potatoes:

  • Alternaria
  • Little leaf disease or Phytoplasma
  • Scarf
  • Soil rot
  • Storage rot
  • Scab
  • Root-knot nematodes
  • Feathery mottle
  • Cercospora leaf spots

Pests & Diseases Management in Sweet Potato Farming

The presence of any of these mentioned pests, insects and diseases in sweet potato crop may lower down the tuber yield up to many times. So, learn the symptoms and take a suitable preventive action as soon as they appear in your crop

 

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Harvesting Sweet Potatoes

Within a short time period, about 100 days to 140 days after planting on the field, sweet potatoes tubers attain their maturity and becomes ready for harvesting depending on the cultivar used for tuber production. The color change of leaves from green to yellow indicates the maturity of tubers. Then after, the tubers become ready for harvesting. Try to harvest tubers by digging them out. Make use of pick-ax (or fork) for digging up the tubers from the ground.

harvesting sweet potato

These freshly harvested potatoes to be sent off to the local market for selling or to any starch related industry for processing.

Yield in Sweet Potato Farming

The yield of this crop depends on many key factors including soil type, climate conditions, atmosphere, variety along with some other horticulture management skills, practices during the cultivation process.

However, on an avg, one can easily obtain tubers about more than 15 tonnes for cultivation under rainfed conditions whereas about more than 25 tonnes for cultivation under the facility of irrigation with average management practices.

Bottom Line

Sweet Potato farming or sweet potato cultivation is fun providing job and one can easily earn a big profit in very short time span with avg horticulture management practices in growing process.

Have Grand Success in Sweet Potato Farming

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