News April 2019

4R practices for fertilizer management in potatoes

Phosphorus is a key nutrient for the development of the potato plant and tubers, writes The Fertilizer Institute’s Director of Agronomy Sally Flis on

The status of P in the plant, deficient or sufficient, is closely related to yield. With the high value of a potato crop and the influence of proper phosphorus nutrition on plant and tuber development, the 4Rs and especially timing of phosphorus availability are critical to maximizing yield per acre.

Selecting the right suite of 4R practices is key in every cropping system. While much of the discussion is often around corn and soybean systems, selecting the right source of fertilizer at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place for economic, environmental, and social benefits also applies to crops like potatoes.

Understanding the differences in how and when phosphorus is taken up in a crop like potatoes versus corn is critical to making the best 4R nutrient management decision.

Recognizing the differences in nutrient uptake among potato varieties is also important to creating an effective plan. As with all phosphorus applications, regardless of the crop being grown, knowing the soil characteristics and nutrient concentrations is critical to providing adequate available phosphorus to the growing crop.

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