Potatoes: Managing High Yields with a Less Than Ideal Start to the Growing Season
Posted by Jeff Gilder, Agronomist on May 31, 2022
The 2022 growing season has gotten off to a slow start. Wet conditions and cold soil have delayed planting and emergence in most of our market areas. We tend to think of this as only a corn and soybean issue, but potato planting has also been impacted. As with most crops, a poor start can cause challenges during the growing season. Proper management of fertility and plant health will be the key to a strong finish to the 2022 potato crop.
As the calendar gets deeper into spring, the tendency is to rush planting, alter a fertility plan, or skip a nutrient application hoping to “make up” during the season. Managing the nutrient needs of the crop with a high yield or season long approach will be the best way to reach your yield expectations this season.
If you must alter your crop management plan, it is important to consider the functions of various nutrients at different growth stages in the potato life cycle. Following a “make it up later” approach will likely not meet the nutritional needs of the crop at critical growth stages, causing early season stress.
There are a few key nutrients when looking at potatoes including calcium, potassium, and nitrogen. The Andersons has developed a series of High Yield Programs to meet the needs of critical nutrients for various crops to reach maximum yield potential.
The first nutrient to consider is calcium. While we tend to think of calcium as the strength in cell walls, calcium also plays a vital role in overall quality and plant health. Calcium aids in plant maturity, reduces skin diseases, aids in the firmness of skin, and improves the crops’ defenses against in-season stress. To address calcium needs, consider including the following products in your plan:
- NutraSoft® DG – Pelletized gypsum, 150 times more soluble than limestone
- Eezy® Cal 10% - Calcium nitrate with broad range of applications
- Eezy Cal-B - The benefits of calcium with boron
The next nutrient to ensure adequate supply of is potassium. Lapses in available potassium during the growing season can be the biggest limiting factor to achieving high yields. Potassium is key in water movement, plant health and the movement of carbohydrates. The application of Over Pass®10-2-10 and Korrect® Plus help to address potassium needs.
- Over Pass 10-2-10 – 25% slow release nitrogen with potassium, boron, and manganese
- Korrect Plus – Potassium acetate with boron and manganese
Lastly, is nitrogen. During the early growth stages, nitrogen helps to build the canopy. Later in the season, nitrogen is needed to maintain plant health and provide a strong finish to the growing season. With the current high cost of nitrogen, it is important to protect your nitrogen investment. The Andersons’ UltraMate® LQ or UltraMate Zn are liquid humic products designed to reduce volatility while increasing nutrient utilization.
- UltraMate LQ or UltraMate Zn - Liquid 12% humic acid. Stabilizes nitrogen and reduces volatility while increasing utilization.
We hope your season is off to a great start. Remember higher yields start with a great high yield fertility program.
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