Nitrogen Requirements for Potatoes Grown in a Bed-Planting Configuration
Study author(s): Carl Rosen, University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
Years of study: 2018, 2019
Location(s): Staples, MN
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Overall, planting at high density strongly favored the production of whole-seed-sized tubers at the expense of tubers marketable for processing compared to planting at low density, while the bed planting configuration had a similar, though less pronounced, effect relative to the hilled-row configuration. No treatment produced a commercially viable marketable yield, but this is attributable to the very late planting date (June 11) and short growing season (85 days to vine kill) relative to what Russet Burbank grown for processing requires (120 days). The results for N uptake strongly suggest that the plants had not finished translocating resources from vines to tubers by the time vines were killed.
The effects of the bed planting configuration, planting density, and N rate on tuber specific gravity were consistent with small tubers having higher specific gravity than large tubers. Specific gravity was higher in bed plots than hilled-row plots, higher at high density than low density, and higher at the lowest N rate than at the other two rates. Tuber dry matter content showed similar relationships, but with higher-order interaction effects that are difficult to explain. The weak effects of planting density on the prevalence of hollow heart and brown center may also be attributable to tuber size. Larger Russet Burbank tubers are more prone to these conditions, and both conditions were more prevalent at low planting density.