Nitrogen Management in Organic Potato Production

  • Derek H. LynchEmail author
  • Mehdi Sharifi
  • Andy Hammermeister
  • David Burton


There is increasing interest in organic potato production in Canada, within a context of continuing strong growth rates for organic products globally. Using data from on-farm and station based trials, key characteristics of organic potato production in the Atlantic Canada region, notably the use of extended rotations involving leguminous crop green manures combined with organic amendments, low intensity of nitrogen and residual soil mineral N (RSMN) post harvest, and enhanced soil quality and health, are shown as sustainable outcomes of these systems. Data presented confirm nitrogen as the primary factor limiting total and marketable yields. Without additional N supplementation but following legume green manures (GMr) of red clover, or hairy vetch, potato yields and N uptake are shown to range from 30 to 35 Mg ha−1 and 100–125 kg N ha−1, respectively, while RSMN remains low. Combining N supplementation (with composts or dehydrated manures) with GMr consistently increased total and marketable yield. The effect of N supply and GMr type on pest (wireworm, Colorado potato beetle) population dynamics is also examined. Finally, synchronizing N supply in these systems with crop demand remains challenging and the potential to use novel soil tests and plant bioassays to improve N management in organic production systems is also discussed.


Late Blight Tuber Yield Organic Amendment Colorado Potato Beetle Prince Edward Island 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to acknowledge support for the principal author provided by the Canada Research Chairs program. Individual project support was provided through the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, and Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Forestry. The keen interest and assistance of many organic producers and research technicians, too numerous to list, is also greatly acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek H. Lynch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mehdi Sharifi
    • 2
  • Andy Hammermeister
    • 3
  • David Burton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of plant and Animal SciencesNova Scotia Agricultural CollegeTruroCanada
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ScienceNova Scotia Agricultural CollegeTruroCanada
  3. 3.Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, Department of Environmental ScienceNova Scotia Agricultural CollegeTruroCanada

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