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Nitrogen rates: New protocol to improve accuracy of nitrogen applications in potato crops

AHDB in the UK recently announced in a news article that a new protocol for estimating the determinacy of potato varieties will be released in the next few months. The protocol will be added to the AHDB Nutrient Management Guide (RB209).

How will the new protocol benefit the industry?

  • The protocol will help breeders and those involved in variety development, save time and money when producing nitrogen recommendations for new varieties
  • Growers and agronomists will gain more accurate nitrogen/determinacy groupings for both new and existing cultivars, and therefore improve the N rates applied to their crop

Potato determinacy – what is it and why is it relevant for plant nutrition? 

A key component of nitrogen fertiliser recommendations as used in the AHDB Nutrient Management Guide (RB209), is the nitrogen (determinacy) group.

These are based on four groups: Group 1 (very determinate) through to Group 4 (very indeterminate):

  • Potato varieties such as Accord, Estima and Innovator are part of Group 1 as they cease leaf production after the first (or indeed second or third flowers) but when compared with indeterminate varieties, they will produce fewer leaves
  • Varieties classified as group 4 determinacy, for example Cara, Markies and Royal, continue to produce leaves and flowers until they are curtailed by shorter days and frost

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