A potato crop is relatively productive, but in order to achieve its potential yield, it should be supplied with sufficient nutrients. This entails provision of both macro and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are needed in large quantities and include Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium and Calcium, among others, while micronutrient elements are required in relatively lower amounts but are very crucial in crop’s functions. They include Iron, Boron, Zinc, among others.
In order to achieve a proper nutrition, application of basal and foliar fertilizers is recommended.
Application of manure is necessary for soils with little or no organic matter. It releases its nutrients slowly throughout the growing period and adds organic matter to the soil.
The type and amount of fertilizer needed before planting and during the growing period depends on the fertility status of the soil. To accurately know the nutrient level in the soil, soil testing is very important.
Role of nutrients in potato crop growth
- Promotes early and stronger potato crop growth
- Encourages the formation of more and bigger tubers
- Boosts potato crop defense system against infections and stress
- Promotes good skin quality of the tubers
- Maintains tuber growth
Fertilizer Application Schedule
Nutrients should be applied as accurately as possible to the zone of uptake, slightly before, or at the time the crop needs them. Failure to ensure that each potato crop gets the right balance of nutrients can spoil the potato crop quality and reduce yield.
Early growth stage
This is the period of time between planting, sprout development and about 2 weeks after emergence of sprouts from the soil.
Phosphorous rich fertilizers are required in relatively higher quantities during this time of growth.
Application of DAP while planting is highly encouraged.
These fertilizers stimulate rapid root development, ensure vigorous growth, ensure a balanced crop growth and increase crop resistance to infections and weather stress.
Seeds soaked in OPTIMIZER 20ml/20l for 6 – 12 hours before planting sprout faster and uniformly.
Vegetative growth stage
At this point, the leaves, stem and root system of the potato crop grows vigorously and photosynthesis begins, providing nourishment for the growing potato crop.
Nitrogenous fertilizers are needed in relatively higher quantities at this time of crop’s growth and development.
Top dressing using CAN is very important.
Other nitrogenous basal fertilizers like UREA could also be applied.
This stage involves tuber initiation, tuber bulking and maturation. For most potato varieties, this is the period when the crop also begins to flower.
Basal fertilizers rich in potassium like N.P.K 17.17.17 should also be applied.
These fertilizers induce tuberization, promote tuber bulking, improve tuber skin quality, increase crop resistance to infections and weather stress, ensure a balanced crop growth and improve potato crop productivity, among other benefits.
- Spray the crop with OPTIMIZER 10ml/20l at any stage of growth. It is a biostimulant which stimulates the potato crop to grow faster, helps it to withstand stressful conditions and adds nutrients to the growing plants among other benefits.
- All foliar sprays should be incorporated with INTEGRA 3ml/20l. This is a sticker, spreader and penetrant which improves on the absorption of the fertilizer by the foliage of the potato crop.
- All basal fertilizers and manures should be mixed with HUMIPOWER, which adds organic matter to the soil, stabilizes soil pH making nutrients available, reduces leaching and minimizes runoff among other benefits.
- A repeat of foliar feed spray should be done on weekly basis.