Justifying nutrient decisions is now based on financial and environmental consideration as well as yield and quality. Recommendations for RB209 8th edition potato section were developed by an industry group led by Potato Council. Although the method of calculating the Nitrogen requirement hasn’t altered, the table values have in some instances been reduced.
The guide expands on the advice found within RB209 8th edition, with worked examples to show the effect of, for example compaction. How to adjust the recommendations for field specific circumstances is an ongoing Potato Council research project that aims to make better use of Nitrogen.
A recent project to analyse the nutrient content of organic manures found a large variation in available nutrients when compared to standard book values for farm yard manures. This successful project has led to a method that is cheaper and more accurate than conventional wet chemistry. This should lead to more manure analysis rather than relying on book values and therefore a more effective nutrition programme.
Harvesting and Bruising
Bruising and damage are the biggest cause of down grading and financial loss to the potato industry. The minimising bruising guide was developed to raise awareness of all factors involved in bruise and damage susceptibility, many of which can be influenced before the crop is planted.
Potato Council also worked with harvester manufacturers to develop a series of guides to help with the set up of all the major models of harvester. These won’t stop bruising, as there will always be the need to adjust for field variation, but does help to raise awareness and highlight the key areas where damage and bruising occur.