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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Nitrogen Requirements of Potatoes1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 77 No. 4, p. 616-621
    Received: May 3, 1984

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  1. D. T. Westermann and
  2. G. E. Kleinkopf2



Nitrogen fertilizer applications, for maximum fertilizer efficiencies and crop yields, should be based on the N required by the crop during its various growth stages. The objectives of this paper were to identify the N requirements of the potato plant (Solanum tuberosum L.) during growth and to evaluate selected soil and plant tissue tests as indicators of the plant's N status. Growth analysis data and soil and petiole NO3-N concentrations were obtained at predetermined time intervals from N fertilization treatments in replicated field studies on a coarse-silty mixed, mesic Durixerollic Calciorthrid soil. Maximum early tuber growth occurred when leaf area index was between 2.5 and 3.2 and the tops contained between 79 and 100 kg N ha−1 at the start of linear tuber growth. A preplant N fertilizer application between 67 and 134 kg ha−1 gave these characteristics under the experimental conditions. The maximum dry matter production rate per day (approx. 250 kg ha−1) occurred when there was between 80 and 140 kg N ha−1 in the plant tops and roots. An average tuber growth rate of 0.75 Mg ha−1 day−1 required a N uptake rate of 3.7 kg ha−1 day−1 to prevent the loss of N and dry matter from the tops and roots. Sufficient N was available for this rate when the soil NO3-N concentration was > 7.5 mg kg−1 (0.46-m soil depth), corresponding to 15 000 mg kg−1 NO3-N in the fourth petiole. Soil and petiole NO3-N concentrations may be used to adjust the N fertilization rates during the growing season. This practice has the potential of increasing the overall N fertilizer use efficiency and final tuber yields within the climatic, disease, and variety limitations.

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