Crop efficiencies associated with intercepted radiation, conversion into biomass and allocation to edible organs are essential for yield improvement strategies that would enhance genetic properties to maximize carbon gain without increasing crop inputs. The production of 20 potato landraces-never studied before-was analyzed for radiation interception ( ε i ), conversion ( ε c ) and partitioning ( ε p ) efficiencies. Additionally, other physiological traits related to senescence delay (normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) s l p ), tuberization precocity ( t u ), photosynthetic performance and dry tuber yield per plant (TY) were also assessed. Vegetation reflectance was remotely acquired and the efficiencies estimated through a process-based model parameterized by a time-series of airborne imageries. The combination of ε i and ε c , closely associated with an early tuber maturity and a NDVI s l p explained 39% of the variability grouping the most productive genotypes. TY was closely correlated to senescence delay (r P e a r s o n = 0.74), indicating the usefulness of remote sensing methods for potato yield diversity characterization. About 89% of TY was explained by the first three principal components, associated mainly to t u , ε c and ε i , respectively. When comparing potato with other major crops, its ε p is very close to the theoretical maximum. These findings suggest that there is room for improving ε i and ε c to enhance potato production.
Keywords: crop modeling; diffuse radiation; mini core collection; remote sensing; senescence delay; tuberization precocity.