Grow the future | Potato nutrition | Farmer inspecting potatoes Grow the future | Potato nutrition | Farmer inspecting potatoes

Make sure your potatoes have all the nutrients they need

Making sure your potatoes are fully supplied with all the nutrients they require is the best way to improve crop yield and tuber quality

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Key nutrients for healthy potatoes

The potato crop requires potassium in large quantities. In fact, it needs 50% more potassium than it does nitrogen. A 38.5t/ha crop can remove more than 120kg/ha of nitrogen whereas it can remove over 200kg/ha of potassium. Both of these macronutrients are important throughout vegetative growth, tuber formation and bulking.

Of course, nitrogen is key for leaf and tuber growth and is recycled from the leaf to the tuber during bulking, the same can be said for potassium. Potassium, as you can see from the removal values, is key for high yields and maintaining tuber integrity. Phosphate is also required in relatively large quantities during early growth due to its importance in root and shoot development, and tuber set, but also later on in the season for bulking.

Calcium is a crucial nutrient as it plays an essential role in quality parameters. Potatoes need calcium to strengthen the skins of the tubers; providing better resistance to many diseases (black scurf, silver scurf and common and powdery scab) and also a better skin finish. Calcium deficiency also causes internal rust spot so it’s imperative to apply calcium at the right time and also ensure to the correct source of calcium is used. Liming materials won’t supply plant-available calcium to the crop therefore it won’t provide sufficient supply to meet the demand. Calcium nitrate (CN), such as YaraLiva Tropicote, provides soluble calcium that is plant-available, unlike liming materials.

Remember to keep some of your nitrogen back from the seedbed application for this CN dressing, to ensure your potato crop receives the right soluble calcium.

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