Controlled release fertilizer potato production system for Florida

Chad M. Hutchinson

Abstract


Irish potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is one of the top five valued vegetable crops in Florida. The majority of planted potato acres in the state are irrigated with seepage irrigation. The type of irrigation used, weather conditions during the potato season, and fertilization practices led to the development of best management practices that limit the application of nitrogen fertilizers during the season. BMPs reduce the potential movement of nitrate from potato fields into surrounding watersheds. A controlled release fertilizer (CRF) system was evaluated for potato production in Florida that helps growers meet the nitrogen BMPs while improving nitrogen use efficiency compared to conventional fertilizer practices. Over the past four seasons, 54 'CRF product by rate' combinations were evaluated and compared to a conventional fertilizer program. Two multi-acre grower trials in 2002 and 2003 validated successful treatments. The CRF treatments produced equal or better tuber yields and higher tuber quality while reducing nitrogen application rate by at least 25% compared to conventional fertilizer treatments at the BMP rate (N at 224 kg ha[sup-]). Although no firm product cost is yet set, product cost has dropped from over $1,200.00/acre to a range between $100 and $200/acre in 2003. In comparison, the grower conventional nitrogen program has ranged from $50 to $75/acre.

Keywords


solanum tuberosum; slow release fertilizer; chip; crisps; tuber defects

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283