Potato belongs to the Solanaceae family and it is indigenous to South America, specifically to the Andes range. It is the world's fourth-largest food crop being Solanum tuberosum the major species grown worldwide. Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm high, depending on variety, with the leaves dying back after flowering, fruiting and tuber formation. Potato growth is classified into five distinct growth phases: Sprout development, Vegetative growth, Tuber initiation, Tuber bulking and Maturation.
Climate: It is a cultivation of temperate zones, although with capacity of adaptation to different climatic conditions. It is sensitive to frost and low temperatures. It requires a large amount of water so it is generally grown in irrigation. A drip system equipped with a Fertigation device is the preferable method of irrigation.
Soil: Potatoes will grow on most soils but, light and medium texture soils are recommended with a high content of organic matter, adequate aeration and a good capacity of drainage. It is sensitive to salinity.
pH: Neutral or slightly acidic (5.5 - 7). Too alkaline conditions can adversely affect skin quality and can cause micronutrient deficiencies.
Sensitivities: Chloride, Boron deficiency and Storage conditions.
Potato is a crop with high nutritional requirements. Any deficiency has an impact on the yield and the tubers quality. In order to obtain good results, nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium must be available to the plant. Potato is a nitrogen and potassium demanding crop.
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The best method of applying Nitrogen is Fertigation. This practice allows Nitrogen to be supplied gradually from the emergency until the crop covers 80% of the soil.
It is also important to program the nutrients application to match the critical factors in the different stages of development, for example Calcium in the initiation of tubers.
Since potato varieties differ in tuber initiation, it is important to control it visually to find out when first tubers are formed in order to optimize nutrition efficiency.
Foliar fertilization is the fastest and most effective method to supplement and enrich plant nutrition and to correct nutritional deficiencies when needed. This contributes significantly to higher and better quality productions.
To verify the safe rate under local conditions, it is advisable to spray recommended rate on a few plants. After 3-4 days check the tested plants for scorching symptoms.
Potato fertilizer program