American Journal of Potato Research

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 502–510 | Cite as

Importance of Early-Season Nitrogen Rate and Placement to Russet Burbank Potatoes

  • Keith A. KellingEmail author
  • Ronald F. Hensler
  • Phillip E. Speth


Early-season nitrogen (N) is necessary for optimal potato vegetative growth and creating an optimal growing condition for high yields; however, on sandy soils it also increases the risk of losing fertilizer N through leaching. This 3-year field experiment evaluated whether a smaller amount of N placed near the plant roots could provide the benefits associated with higher rates of early N applications that were less well placed. Two rates of N applied at emergence (40 or 80 kg N ha−1) were spot-placed (5 to 7 cm around each plant), banded along the row, or broadcast applied, and compared to no N or where all of the in-season N was applied at tuberization. All plots except the zero N controls received a total of 170 kg ha−1 of in-season N. Where emergence N was spot-applied in some years, tuber numbers were reduced compared to where the N was broadcast, and in these situations, resulted in increased tuber size and higher yields of prime-sized tubers (U.S. No. 1, 170 to 370 g). Where differences existed, results from banded treatments were intermediate between those from the spot and broadcast treatments. However, in spite of apparent N placement effects likely associated with having a higher concentration of N near the plant roots early in the season, no differences were evident between the two rates of emergence N within a given placement. In this experiment, total yields were not affected by rate or placement of emergence N. Overall, this experiment provides support for the concept of placing early-season N near the plant roots, and band applications along the row may be a grower-manageable alternative for achieving this goal.


Nitrogen leaching Nitrogen timing Tuber number Solanum tuberosum L. 


El nitrógeno (N) al inicio del ciclo es necesario para el crecimiento vegetativo óptimo de la papa y para generar una condición óptima de crecimiento para altos rendimientos; no obstante, en suelos arenosos también se aumenta el riesgo de pérdida de fertilizante nitrogenado por lixiviación. En este experimento de campo de tres años se evaluó si una cantidad menor de N ubicada cerca de las raíces de la planta pudiera suministrar los beneficios asociados con niveles más altos de aplicaciones tempranas de N que no estuvieran tan bien ubicadas. Se aplicaron dos niveles de N a la emergencia en manchones (40 u 80 kg N ha−1, 5 a 7 cm alrededor de cada planta), en banda a lo largo del surco, o disperso, y se compararon con ausencia de N, o cuando todo el N del ciclo se aplicó a la tuberización. Todos los lotes, con excepción de los testigos de cero N, recibieron un total de 170 kg ha−1 de N en el ciclo. Cuando se aplicó el N en manchones a la emergencia, en algunos años, se redujo el número de tubérculos en comparación a cuando se aplicó disperso, y en estas situaciones, resultó en el aumento en el tamaño del tubérculo y en rendimientos más altos de tubérculos de tamaño de primera (U.S. No. 1, 170 a 370 g). En donde hubo diferencias, los resultados de los tratamientos en banda fueron intermedios entre los de manchones y los dispersos. No obstante, a pesar de los efectos aparentes de la ubicación del N, probablemente asociados con el contenido mayor en la concentración de N cerca de las raíces de las plantas temprano en el ciclo, no se evidenciaron diferencias entre los dos niveles del N de emergencia dentro de una misma ubicación. En este experimento, no se afectaron los rendimientos totales por el nivel o ubicación del N a la emergencia. En general, este experimento proporciona respaldo al concepto de la ubicación del N temprano en el ciclo cerca de las raíces, y las aplicaciones en banda a lo largo del surco pudieran ser una alternativa manejable por el agricultor para lograr esta meta.



Support for this research provided by the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Potato Industry Board, the Wisconsin Fertilizer Research Council, the University of Wisconsin Agricultural and Natural Resource Consortium, University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© The Potato Association of America 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith A. Kelling
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ronald F. Hensler
    • 2
  • Phillip E. Speth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.College of Natural ResourcesUniversity of Wisconsin-Stevens PointStevens PointUSA

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