May 26, 2021

Potato Nutrition

Because potatoes are a root vegetable that grows below the surface of the soil, phosphate and potassium are more beneficial to potato growth. Choose an all-purpose granular fertilizer with the appropriate levels of potassium and phosphate.

Potato nutrition
Potato nutrition
I am a small farmer in Kinangop growing potatoes. I have heard that you have good fertilizers for potatoes, please advise me on how to grow and get good harvest of potatoes.

Like many crops, starting off with the right seed is important, and is probably even more important for potato to plant clean certified seed free from disease. The seed must also be at the right physiological stage with at least 4-5 sprouted eyes. All other Agronomic practices such as weed, pest and disease management have to be adhered to as well.

Fertilization on Potatoes

Application of fertilizers that supply a Balanced Nutrient supply for Potatoes, giving both primary secondary and Micro-Nutrients is critical for High Yields and Quality of potato. Critical to remember in potatoes is that the peak nutrients uptake for most varieties is between 30-35 days after germination. This mean that all fertilizers need to be applied not later than 5 weeks after germination.

Influencing Yield and Quality

 Application an NPK fertilizer with an adequate supply of Phosphorous such as UNIK 17 is critical at the planting stage. This is so because Phosphorous is an important element in determining especially the tuber numbers (besides the variety type) and this is signaled early in the growing stages for potatoes.

The Nitrogen and Potassium are critical in supporting early crop establishment. A topdressing with a good NPK with a relatively high amounts of Potassium like YaraMila WINNER at tuber initiation stage (2-3 weeks after germination) and a supply of soluble calcium at this stage are critical.

This is so because the Potassium and Nitrogen supplied is good for good canopy development, accumulating enough biomass to support vigorous growth and especially bulking of the tubers to produce large tubers.

Potassium also helps enhance the potato crop’s tolerance to moisture stress. Calcium is critical in developing a tough skin and prevent bruising and cracking of the potato tubers, as well as reduce incidences of tuber diseases such as Erwinia Soft Rots.

Other Agronomic practices

Potatoes are sensitive to diseases such and Blights which also thrive under the wet cold climates adapted for potato production. It is therefore important to maintain a regular preventive spray program against Blights and other pests.

Hilling / Earthing up is an important practice to also allow for good tuber expansion and avoid physiological disorders like greening of the tubers. In short therefore, a balance of a good balanced fertilization regime applied at the right time, as well as other Agronomic practices will give you Good Yields and Good quality tubers.

By: Vitalis Wafula

East Africa Regional Agronomist Yara