UK: Soil health key to breaking potato yield plateau

Boosting soil nutrition and cutting compaction will be two key factors in breaking through the yield barrier that potato growers have hit over the past 20 years. Maincrop potato yields increased sharply up to the mid-1990s, but since then yields have stagnated at about 44.6t/ha, according to Potato Council data covering 1960-2013. Speaking at the recent Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association (CUPGRA) annual conference, Marc Allison, potato nutrition expert at NIAB-CUF, said there was evidence that this plateau was being caused by a lack of soil fertility, and that many potato growers would say the soils across their farms were not as fertile as they were a generation ago. More