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Spud-tacular research: Solutions for potato yield and uniformity

October 18, 2017

When incorporating an Alltech Crop Science program into commercial potato growing, an Ireland research trial with two potato varieties saw an almost 6 percent yield increase and more uniformity in tubers.

Modern agriculture is facing two daunting challenges: doubling year-on-year production to feed a longer-living population estimated to hit 9.3 billion by 2050, and in doing so, using fewer resources and chemical inputs. Crop nutritional management will be a key aspect of the second Green Revolution, which is looking to technology and sustainable practices to help make crop production more efficient — to get more out of less.

Throughout the world, the potato represents a major food source, with annual global production estimated at approximately 325 million tons and consumption at approximately 33 kilograms per head per year (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2012). Nutritional interventions have been shown to play a considerable role in crop productivity by helping to alleviate the common biotic and abiotic challenges encountered in-field, challenges which frequently result in reduced harvest yields.

The response of two key potato cultivars grown in commercial settings — Rooster (floury-textured, all-purpose potato) and Maris Piper (high dry matter potato, ideal for chipping) — to an Alltech Crop Science (ACS)-recommended program was investigated. Tuber yield and uniformity was assessed for plots treated with Soil-Set® (2 liters/hectare) at planting and Impro-Set® (1 liter/hectare) at early and late tuber fill. The trial was carried out in replicate 38-square-meter plots, each with approximately 140 plants per plot, in a commercial farm on the eastern coast of Ireland during the 2016 growing season.

The combined data for both potato varieties revealed notable improvements in overall yield and relative size distribution with the ACS-recommended program (see graph below). On average, treatment resulted in a 5.9 percent increase in total yield, which equated to approximately 2.7 tons/hectare under these conditions.

Perhaps more interestingly, the relative size distribution of tubers was significantly improved in the desired marketable category (p≤0.05). Reductions of small and oversized tubers in response to treatment coincided with a relative 8.2 percent increase in these 45- to 70-millimeter tubers, equating to an additional 5.9 tons/hectare for this category.

As demonstrated in this study, improved yields and more consistent tuber uniformity across two potato varieties demonstrate the potential benefits of incorporating the ACS program into a commercial potato growing system.

Average relative size distribution and total yield for two different potato varieties

To find out how to incorporate the ACS-recommended program into your crops, contact your local Alltech Crop Science representative or today.