Successful potato crops start with the right products and the right timings

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What do the latest potato-growing trials tell us about how to ensure good quality, high-yield harvests?

“This year we’ve used traditional demonstration plots,”  states Oscar Thacker, area manager for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire,” but we’ve also expanded out to field-scale trials. As well as reducing variability, field trials provide that vital knowledge exchange between Yara and our customers.”

Mr Thacker’s work has involved trials on two products, and the initial findings give plenty of insight to growers.

Tropicote: soluble = success

“Adding lime to get the right soil pH right is indeed crucial,” Oscar begins. “But because lime is calcium carbonate, there’s a belief that it provides a lot of calcium for the potato crop. However, you’d need 66,000 litres of water to dissolve 1 kilogram of calcium carbonate, so it’s a long time before lime becomes plant-available.”

“But YaraLiva Tropicote – which is calcium nitrate – only requires 1 litre of water to dissolve 1 kilogram. It’s very soluble, which is exactly what’s needed, certainly at tuber initiation.”

So how has Tropicote performed in this year’s trials? “There’s an improved skin finish, enabling a better pack-out when it comes to selling those potatoes on.”

“The trial data reaffirms Tropicote’s place in the market, both in terms of internal defects and in terms of skin finish details,” Mr Thacker concludes.

Magphos K: timing’s everything

Also being put through its paces this year is YaraVita Magphos K. “It provides the crop the magnesium, phosphate and potash that the crop needs,” Oscar says. “Plus it’s in a highly available phosphoric acid form, which is up to ten times more available than any soil-applied phosphorus.”

The beauty of Magphos, Mr Thacker emphasises, is in its ability to work towards specific crop aims just by tweaking the timing. “Applying it at tuber initiation gives increased tuber number, which is perfect for a seed or salad crop, or we can apply it at a later stage for tuber bulking, for the more typical ware crop.”

Further trial findings will be published in the coming months. Growers can head to to find their local area manager to discuss a wealth of agricultural matters. Yara would love to hear from any growers who want to get involved in next year’s growing trials.

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