A potato is one of developed commodities in Indonesia. The effort of product increasing is continuously implemented to fulfil its demand from year to year is increase. The development for potatoes is fixing the potato seeds product technology. One of micro small and medium enterprises which develop potatoes seed is Tani Mandiri. Rudi Madiyanto as the owner of UMKM in Sumberbrantas village of Batu city does the potatoes seeding in the greenhouse with Aeoroponic cultivation system. Cultivated potato is the product of his breeding named Madisu AP-4. Those seeds are the advanced seed which is has pathogen resistant of phytophtora or black rot fungus on its leaves. In additional, it can produces bigger potatoes than with other varieties also has cleanest and shiny leaves then it has higher economic value.
Those potatoes are cultivated with aeroponic system which is conducted in the greenhouse in the seeding box. In the seeding box root of the plant is hung and sprayed with nutrient nutrition continuously by mist sprayer which is placed in its below.
In the greenhouse Tani Mandiri UMKM owner by Rudi Madiyanto there are five seeding boxes. But in this UMKM still has barriers because the produced seed is still not optimal. Then one seeding box sized 1.5 x 15 m which is filled by 1000 seeds must be removed and that UMKM can get loss until 25 percent for every seeding box.
The disadvantage according to Rudi was caused by not optimal irrigation system also the nutrition giving which was not appropriate with potato needs. The used irrigation system in the mitra is by using 2 pumps for 5 seeding boxes sized 1.5 x 15 m. the work of the pumps still not optimal because water and nutrition distribution in every box was uneven. One pump just filled the need of potato seed irrigation for about 0.5 cc/L. In fact the optimal need of water and nutrition of potato is 3 cc/L. Besides that the time of nutrition giving is conducted for 1 minute every 5 minutes. In fact the best time for earoponic irrigation is 5 minutes every 15 minutes and must be operated for 12 hours. Then the irrigation needs of potato seeding got experiencing shortage whether from inappropriately nutrition time giving or unfulfilled number of needs. In additional, the second pump which will be used as leaves fertilize sprayer is not working well. It caused the leaves will change to yellow then the tissue of root will be weakened or withered. Therefore it needs an effective and efficient innovative irrigation in aeroponic potato seeding.
Together with the existence of Student Creativity Program by DIKTI (General Directorate of Higher Education), five students of Brawijaya University under guidance of Ir.Ary Mustofa Ahmad, MP., they are Bangkit Puji Pamungkas, Adriansyah Galih Prasetya, Akbar Setyo Pambudi, Puji Sri Lestari who come from Agricultural Engineering Department also Bachrul Ulum who come from Agro-eco-technology conducted the irrigation technology implementation in form of Automatic Aeroponic Irrigation (AURORA) in the greenhouse of Tani Mandiri UMKM.
Bangkit, the chief executive of its group said that irrigation problem could be handled by using automatic irrigation technology. “This automatic irrigation system using micro-controller as automatic brain controlled according to aeroponic irrigation data, then RTC series (Real Time Clock) as timer will record the irrigation time and auto valve as the automatic valve in the aeroponic potato seeding. Another advantage of this system is simple pipe tissue which supports the work of pump then the pump can work optimally,” Bangkit said, student of Agricultural Engineering Department.
In additional, that automatic irrigation system works used just one pump. “The using of this one pump will save the electrical cost which before used two pumps,” Galih said, one of members. Then the way of work of this system is the pump will be controlled automatically by micro-controller according to irrigation time and time series system (sequentially and alternately). The system is in form of nutrition giving time in the same time to the all of other boxes according to RTC schedule. When RTC showed aeroponic seeding irrigation time then micro-controller will control the auto valve in order to open the valve automatically. The time of irrigation or appropriate nutrition giving is 5 minutes every 15 minutes. Not only that, with one of pumps it can conducted two sprayings in the same time it is root irrigation and pesticide spraying from the top of leaves. Then the seeds which are produced will look fresher and resist of leaves disease.
Two months left this tool was implemented and observed its development. The result of this technology is the irrigation system is already fit with potato needs whether irrigation for root or leaves. Then the produced seed is fresher and resist of disease, the number of seed is more than before, just decreased for about 15 percent from total seed. In addition, it also saves electric cost because it using one pump. “We expected, the needs of potato seed do not rely on overseas. We also thankful with the existence of this program student and farmer can get its advantages,” Ary said, the lecturer of Agricultural Engineering Department. “We also expected that this technology in the future also can be developed and can be used in other plants also can increased the advantages of the farmer,” Bangkit said. (dse/translated by Ratri)