American Journal of Potato Research

, Volume 95, Issue 5, pp 513–525 | Cite as

Yield and Nitrogen Use of Irrigated Processing Potato in Response to Placement, Timing and Source of Nitrogen Fertilizer in Manitoba

  • Xiaopeng Gao
  • William S. Shaw
  • Mario TenutaEmail author
  • Darin Gibson


Optimizing nitrogen (N) fertilizer management in irrigated potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) on coarse-textured soils is challenging. The “4R” nutrient stewardship framework of using N fertilizer at the right rate, right source, right placement and right time provides approaches to improve fertilizer use efficiency while maintaining or improving yield. This 3-years replicated field plot study evaluated effects from a series of N fertilization strategies including 10 combinations of sources, placement and timing, as well as fertigation, on irrigated processing potato (cv. Russet Burbank) grown for a total of five site-years in the Province of Manitoba, Canada. Treatments were designed to provide early to late availability of N to the potato crop. Nitrogen was applied to 80% of Provincial N recommendation to increase the likelihood of observing improved fertilizer use efficiency and effects of treatments on yields. Measurements were tuber yield, size distribution, specific gravity, hollow-heart rate, fertilizer apparent N recovery (ANR) and agronomic nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Results showed differences in yield, quality, ANR and NUE between fertilizer treatments were generally very small or absent. Average tuber marketable yields for fertilizer treatments were significantly greater than those for the unfertilized control (P < 0.001). Split application of urea at planting and hilling, and urea at planting with fertigation occasionally increased tuber marketable yields on sites of coarse textured soils (P < 0.05). Use of polymer-coated urea (ESN) or stabilized urea with inhibitors (SuperU) did not affect yield, quality or N use of potato. Site-year difference (P < 0.001) were apparent for all measures highlighting the importance of soil and climatic conditions on agronomic and environmental effects of N management practices. The results indicate current grower practice of split urea application at planting and hilling and urea at planting following by in-season fertigation are sound. Results indicate growers could shift to the more convenient practice of ESN at planting without reducing yields. Absence of treatment effects suggests N was generally not a limiting factor for the current study, indicating that the current recommendation for potato production in Manitoba over-estimate site-specific crop N needs.


4R Apparent N recovery Enhanced efficiency fertilizer Fertigation Irrigation N use efficiency Split 


La optimización del manejo de la fertilización con nitrógeno (N) en papa de riego (Solanum tuberosum L.) en suelos de textura gruesa es retadora. El marco de gestión de nutrientes “4R” usando fertilizante N en la dosis correcta, de la fuente correcta, con la colocación correcta y en el tiempo correcto suministra estrategias para mejorar la eficiencia en el uso de fertilizantes mientras se mantiene o se mejora el rendimiento. Este estudio de lotes en el campo repetido en tres años evaluó los efectos de una serie de estrategias de fertilización N, incluyendo 10 combinaciones de fuentes, colocación y tiempos, así como fertirrigación, en papa para proceso de riego (var. Russet Burbank) cultivada para un total de cinco sitios-años, en la provincia de Manitoba, Canadá. Los tratamientos fueron diseñados para proporcionar disponibilidad temprana y tardía de N al cultivo de papa. El N se aplicó a 80% de la recomendación de N de la Provincia, para aumentar la probabilidad de observar mejoramiento en la eficiencia del uso del fertilizante y los efectos de los tratamientos en los rendimientos. Se midió el rendimiento de tubérculo, distribución de tamaños, gravedad específica, el nivel de corazón hueco, la recuperación aparente del fertilizante N (ANR), y la eficiencia en el uso agronómico del nitrógeno (NUE). Los resultados mostraron diferencias en rendimiento y calidad. ANR y NUE entre los tratamientos con fertilizante generalmente fueron muy pequeños o ausentes. El promedio de rendimientos de tubérculo comercial por tratamientos de fertilizante fue significativamente mayor que aquellos del testigo no fertilizado (P < 0.001). La aplicación dividida de urea a la siembra y al aporque, y urea a la siembra con fertirrigación, aumentó ocasionalmente los rendimientos comerciales de tubérculo en sitios de suelos de textura gruesa (P < 0.05). El uso de urea cubierta con polímero o estabilizada con inhibidores (SuperU) no afectó al rendimiento, calidad, o el uso del N en la papa. La diferencia por sitio-año (P < 0.001) fue aparente para todas las mediciones, sobresaliendo la importancia de las condiciones de suelo y clima en los efectos agronómicos y ambientales de las prácticas de manejo del N. Los resultados indican que la práctica común del productor de la aplicación dividida de la urea en la siembra y en el aporque y de urea a la siembra seguida por la fertirrigación en el ciclo del cultivo tienen sentido. Los resultados indican que los productores pueden cambiar a la práctica más conveniente de ESN a la siembra sin reducir los rendimientos. La ausencia del efecto de los tratamientos sugiere que el N no era generalmente un factor limitante para el presente estudio, indicando que la recomendación actual para la producción de papa en Manitoba sobre-estima los requerimientos de N del cultivo específicos por sitio.



This study was funded by the Canadian Horticultural Council Science Cluster II Project of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Growing Forward 2 Program with contributions from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Keystone Potato Producers Association, SimPlot, McCains Foods and Agrium Inc. We would like to thank Mervin Bilous and Brad Sparling from Soil Ecology Lab in University of Manitoba, and staff of CMCDC-Carberry for technical assistance in this study.


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Copyright information

© The Potato Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  3. 3.Gaia Consulting LtdPortage la PrairieCanada

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