Improving potato nutrient-use efficiency, processing quality, and nutritional composition

Most potato production systems used in the U.S. require high rates of chemical fertilization to maintain yields and frequent chemical sprays for disease control. This project will develop and evaluate nutrient management practices that will reduce the dependence of potato production systems on purchased P and K fertilizers. It will also improve the nitrogen fertilization and chemical-use efficiency of potato production systems by identifying and optimizing management practices for new potato varieties adapted to Maine conditions.If successful, this research project would result in production practices that provide higher yields, better processing quality, and fertilizer savings for growers. The greatest challenge is to identify cultivars and associated production practices which can deliver these benefits while also providing acceptable market quality. This project will attempt to meet this challenge thereby increasing the potential for adoption of nutrient-efficient potato cultivars and production practices. The nutrient cost savings and crop value benefits that are obtainable from the adoption of new highly productive, nutrient efficient potato varieties can be estimated from this research project’s results. Grower adoption of updated management practices and new varieties can be determined from surveys conducted in cooperation with University of Maine Cooperative Extension.