When it comes to profitable potato farming, there are certain things a producer can’t control — like weather and markets — but there are also plenty of things he can. From the quality of seed; to the choices he makes about irrigation, pest control, and storage; and even the plant nutrition plan he implements, there are tiny steps throughout the year that add up to big results. We know that in general, a healthier plant is better able to resist diseases and pests, and plant nutrition plays an important role in good plant health. Whether it’s added potassium or calcium to prevent hollow heart or a sulfur application to ward off scab, fertilizer is no longer just plant nutrition; it’s risk management.

Phosphorous

An adequate supply of phosphorus will help ensure more, larger tubers. Pro-Germinator® is used primarily for the application of phosphorus, but is partnered with nitrogen, potassium, and micronutrients for maximum performance. Pro-Germinator®, through proprietary manufacturing technology, contains both ortho-phosphate and carbon-protected polymer phosphate to provide readily available and controlled-release phosphorus with minimal danger of tie-up in the soil.

Basin Fertilizer & Chemical conducted a comparison between AgroLiquid’s Pro-Germinator and a conventional 10-34-0 applied in-season through solid-set irrigation.

Potassium

Potatoes use more potassium than any other nutrient – including nitrogen. Potassium (K) is required for nutrient movement in the potato plant. It is essential for the makeup of over 40 different enzymes and is involved in more than 60 different enzyme systems in plants. Potassium is also important in the formation of sugars and starches in plants. Potassium influences tuber size, specific gravity, susceptibility to blackspot bruise, after-cooking darkening, reducing sugar content, fry color, and storage quality.

It is often beneficial to split applications of potassium to match the optimal times of plant uptake in order to increase yield potential and quality. Proper potassium management can increase disease and pest resistance. In addition, this management practice can improve soil quality for sustainability, resulting in an overall increase in productivity.

You can provide the potassium your crop needs, when it needs it, by using the most efficient potassium products on the market: Kalibrate, Sure-K, or PrimAgro K. These products provide available potassium to the plant at the right times during the growing season.

Sure-K® is a clean, chloride- and hyroxide-free potassium solution. It can be applied in combination with other crop production or protection products and presents a very low risk of crop injury. Sure-K® can be used in any cropping situation where potassium is needed. Sure-K®’s unique formula provides increased crop utilization, allowing lower total product application volume to produce the same results as other conventional potassium fertility products when applied at typical rates.

Kalibrate™ is a chloride- and hyroxide-free potassium solution that contains sulfur. It can be used in combination with Pro-Germinator® and other AgroLiquid products to provide a complete fertilizer program. Kalibrate™ is specially formulated to resist freezing and comes back into solution without heat or agitation even when freezing has occured, making it well- suited for fall and early-season delivery in northern climates.

 

 

Potato Graphic

Research Conducted at the North Central Research Station in St. Johns, MI

Calcium

Calcium is involved in both the structure and function of all plant cell walls and membranes. In potatoes, inadequate levels of calcium cause growth abnormalities like internal brown spot and hollow heart. Adequate levels of calcium can also improve skin color, reduce blackspot bruising and soft rot. In addition, sufficient calcium levels can help a plant react to the impact of environmental pressures, such as heat, cold or drought and bacteria or fungal stresses. Because on a cellular level, calcium is able to protect cell membranes and gives strength to the cell walls, it plays an important role in plant health, growth and tuber quality.

Calcium moves within the plant by translocation, therefore moving with water in the xylem. Potato tubers have much less translocation than the aboveground part of the plant. Therefore, tubers accumulate much less calcium per unit than the leaves of the same plant. Because foliar applied calcium does not move to the tubers, it follows that if tubers have available calcium in the soil, they can extract and absorb the calcium more efficiently than if it is foliar applied.

Sulfur

Sulfur is crucial to healthy crop development. It is found in amino acids that make up plant proteins. It also helps develop vitamins and enzymes. A lack of sulfur results in small, slow-growing plants. There is evidence that suggests sulfur applied in-furrow can substantially decrease common scab and black scurf infection in the tubers. Sulfur is most available in the soils with a pH higher than 6.0. With potato production often in soils with a pH less than 5.3, while sulfur may be present in the soil, it may not be available to the plant.

S-Calate™ is formulated to provide both calcium and sulfur, making it a great fit for many crops where there is a need for these nutrients. S-Calate™ was developed to improve the nutrient efficiency of calcium and sulfur in low-pH environments, but it can be used wherever there is a need for these nutrients.

S-Calate™ can be used at planting for potatoes. It is seed safe and can be tank-mixed with other AgroLiquid nutrients to fulfill all of the crop’s nutrient needs. S-Calate™ is also well suited for use with most crop-protection products. Applications during the season can be side or top-dressed, foliar, or through fertigation.

microLink nutrients include AgroLiquid secondary and micronutrient families. microLink can be adapted to virtually any management practice. Application at planting, as foliar or through irrigation all produce excellent results. These products are formulated to readily mix with other AgroLiquid.

Micro 500 is a combination of micronutrients that have been found to be synergistic in nutrient efficiency and uptake in plants. Applications at planting, as foliar, or through irrigation all produce excellent results. This product is formulated to readily mix with other AgroLiquid fertilizers.

Nitrogen

For most crops, excluding legumes, nitrogen management is a critical component of maximizing return on a fertilizer investment. Nitrogen, because of how it cycles through various forms, can sometimes be tricky to harness for maximum efficiency. It doesn’t stay in one form for an extended period and to add an element of difficulty, the most common form the plant uses, which is the nitrate form, is also the most susceptible to moving with water. This has led to scrutiny from the general population concerned over the presence of nitrates in water supplies. Balancing crop demands with increased accountability over the uncertain fate of nitrogen makes it imperative that growers constantly evaluate their nitrogen management.