December 22, 2016

The Right Micronutrients for Your Potato Fertilizer Plan

By flintgroup

Soils in most potato-growing regions have needs for micronutrient fertilizer applications. Understanding which micronutrient fertilizer sources can provide the nutrition a crop needs – when it’s needed – can have an impact on yield and quality at the end of the season.

A recent webinar hosted by Spudman magazine, along with Mark Goodwin and Karin Nicolajsen with Compass Minerals, reviewed:

  • The role of micronutrients in potato production
  • The benefits of soil micronutrient fertilizer applications
  • Trial results from independent, third-party studies

 

Why Micronutrients Matter for Potato Production

Potato vines and tubers take up a small amount of micronutrients every season, but without those micronutrients, vital processes in potato plants stop. And those sources of stress hurt potato yield and quality.

Here are a few of the important roles that micronutrients play in potato production:

  • Boron maintains a balance between sugar and starch.
  • Boron is essential for proper cell wall formation.
  • Manganese is involved in the photosynthetic process.
  • Zinc affects nitrogen metabolism and starch content.
  • Zinc is essential for cell differentiation, which is crucial for developing large and dense tubers.
intenal necrosis in potato

Boron deficiency symptom
Photo source: AgroPedia

 

Make Soil Micronutrient Applications Part of Your Potato Fertilizer Plan

A soil micronutrient fertilizer application is the best way to deliver immobile micronutrients to the plant early. When potato plants can access the micronutrients they need throughout the season, you can expect:

  • Better water utilization
  • Better utilization of other applied N-P-K-S fertilizers
  • Higher yield potential

Mark Goodwin of Compass Minerals proposed in the webinar that potato growers use a soil micronutrient application as the basis to a total plant nutrition program. First address the micronutrient needs your soil tests and previous seasons’ tissue tests have shown through a soil application. Then, monitor nutrition throughout the season and augment with foliar and/or fertigation applications if needed.

It’s important to note, however, that traditional sources of soil-applied micronutrients usually fall short of delivering the needed nutrition where potato plants can find it. Why? Watch this video.

Featuring patented EvenCoat™ Technology, Wolf Trax DDP® Nutrients coat onto dry fertilizer blends. This results in:

  • Better distribution of micronutrients in the field
  • More feeding sites
  • Earlier nutrient delivery to plants

 

Potato Fertilizer Field Trial Results

The webinar shared data from two recent third-party, replicated studies that pitted Wolf Trax DDP Nutrients against traditional granular micronutrients in potato production.

One trial was conducted in Nicaragua. The soils there are very challenging and put micronutrient fertilizers to the test. All micronutrient treatments tended to increase potato yield and potato size. The Wolf Trax Zinc DDP treatment, however, resulted in the largest tubers, which would be an economic advantage to potato growers.

The other trial was conducted in Washington. Compared to the granular micronutrients, Wolf Trax DDP Nutrients increased the amount of US #1s by 11 percent. This translated into $159/acre more gross revenue.

total_potato_yield_us_no1s

For more information on the third-party field trials, select “Potatoes” in the drop-down box at the top of the Field Insights page.

 

More Potato Fertilizer Education

The full webinar also reviews information and trial results for Nu-Trax P+™ fertilizer with CropStart™ Technology. To view the full webinar online, go to the Spudman magazine website. You can also view another potato fertilizer webinar about the impact of different potassium fertilizer sources on potato quality and yield at the same Spudman magazine site.


About the Author flintgroup