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There are two ways sweetpotato storage roots are harvested: the one time or once-over and the staggered or piecemeal harvesting . Once-over harvesting is common among commercial growers while staggered harvesting is done by semi-commercial and subsistence farmers. In one time harvesting, all storage roots from a crop are harvested at the same time. Before digging, the vines are cut and rolled to one side of the field. For small farms, the roots are dug using a knife, spading fork, harvesting hoe or any implement. In large farms, the crop is harvested by passing an animal- or tractor- drawn mouldboard plough along the rows.

In the staggered harvesting, the big roots may be selectively harvested leaving the small ones to grow further in the lateral vines. A blunt knife or a spading fork is used to dig the roots. In the first harvest digging starts at the base of the plant towards the storage roots formed on the nodes of the buried vine selecting only the big roots. Subsequent harvests are done by tracing the vine and locating big roots. The roots to be harvested as well as those left for the next harvest are kept free from surface wounds and bruises. Subsistence and semi-subsistence farmers usually do this practice.

Staggered harvesting may also mean harvesting the crop planted at one planting time in a field where sweetpotato is planted at different planting intervals. This is done to provide a regular supply of storage roots in the market over a longer period of time.


Rasco, E.T., Jr. and Amante, V. 2000. Sweetpotato in Tropical Asia. SAPPRAD-PCARRD. 230 p.


Contributed by: Vilma Amante  

Harvesting can be done by hoe (K.P.U. de Silva).

An animal-drawn  implement for harvesting from  Leyte State Univ. (V. Amante).

Piecemeal harvesting (E.T. Rasco).