Calcium is a crucial nutrient when growing potatoes as it plays an important role in quality parameters. Potatoes need calcium to strengthen tuber skin; providing better resistance to many diseases (black scurf, silver scurf and common and powdery scab) and also a better skin finish. Therefore calcium (along with other nutrients) can make the difference between selling the crop pre-pack or as ware; that price differential, therefore, making up for the cost of the application.
Calcium deficiency also causes internal rust spot so it’s essential to apply calcium at the right time. That time is tuber initiation. This is when an application of calcium to the potato crop is essential to flush the developing tuber with soluble calcium.
However, it’s not only the timing of calcium that needs to be right but also the source of calcium that is being applied. There is a misconception sometimes that liming materials will contain and provide enough calcium for the crop, but many liming materials are Calcium Carbonate based. This means that they are not very water-soluble and, consequently, the calcium is not freely available to the potato crop through the growing season.
For example Lime is calcium carbonate – it requires 66,000 litres of water to dissolve 1kg of calcium carbonate; which means it would take a long time to become plant-available and definitely not within the season where it’s required. YaraLiva Tropicote only requires 1 litre of water to dissolve 1kg calcium nitrate; which means it has high calcium solubility and therefore is available to the plant when it’s needed.
Calcium is a very important nutrient when growing potatoes and it is key to get the correct timing and correct product to see the best results.
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