The potato is a plant formed by a series of thin roots that sprout from the node of the stem and in which the reserve and use organism grows. These soft, fibrous roots produce tubers, in which the potato accumulates starch and retains it as a reserve.
In Spain, approximately 670,000 hectares of potatoes are cultivated. Although many more hectares were cultivated years ago, now the average yield is much higher and the current production is at 2,000,000 tons per year. 70% of the cultivated hectares are irrigated. The main potato producing areas In Spain are Andalusia, Galicia and Castilla and León.
This crop is better adapted to a neutral or slightly acidic pH. Alkaline soils favor a loss of organoleptic quality. The potato is a crop moderately sensitive to salinity.
Its optimum temperature for tuberization is 18ºC. Below 7ºC potato enters a state of vegetative zero. Above 30ºC the potato prioritizes sprouting over tuberization.
The potato crop needs continuous watering but with moderate doses to avoid water stress. The continuous watering without hidric stress allows the tuber to grow uniformly, without deformities or cracks in its epidermis. Hence the importance of an equilibrated irrigation. The maximum water consumption occurs when the vegetation is fully established, at which time adequate irrigation will be maintained until about 30 days before the harvest date, when the irrigation will be cut in half.
Potato cultivars in Spain are many and varied, but they are used to classify by the hardness of the fruit and its destination. There are the hard meat cultivars, mainly destined for the production of prepared dishes, cooking and preserves; consumer cultivars for direct domestic consumption and feculeros cultivars, for obtaining starch and animal feed. In general, the most used varieties are Kennebec, Jaerla, Baraka, Spunta or Monalisa, among many others.