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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUSTAINABLE CROPPING SYSTEMS FOR IRRIGATED SPECIALTY CROPS AND BIOFUELS

Location: Vegetable and Forage Crops Production Research

Title: Improving nutrient-use efficiency in Chinese potato production - experiences from the USA

Authors
item Alva, Ashok
item Fan, Mingshou -
item Qing, Chen -
item Rosen, Carl -
item Ren, Huiqin -

Submitted to: Journal of Crop Improvement
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2011
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Citation: Alva, A.K., Fan, M., Qing, C., Rosen, C., Ren, H. 2011. Improving Nutrient-use Efficiency in Chinese Potato Production - Experiences From the USA. Journal of Crop Improvement. 25:46-85.

Interpretive Summary: Total production of potatoes in the world is 360 million metric tons. China and Russia each contribute about 20% of the world potato production. The United States ranks fifth in the world with only approximately 5.3% of total production. In China, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Guizhou are three provinces with high potato acreage. The total potato production in China increased from about 12 million metric tons in 1960 to about 72 million metric tons by 2005. However, the yield per hectare hass increased only from 10 to 15 metric tons during the same period. Therefore, there is a need to improve production practices to contribute to increasing potato yields. Balanced fertilizer applicaton and balanced distribution of annual fertilizer doses across different growth stages depending on the differences in nutrient demand appear to be important areas of research to develop precise fertilizer reccomendations to support increased yields and quality of potatoes.

Technical Abstract: ABSTRACT Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is the fourth most important food crop in the world after corn, wheat, and rice. It is adapted to a wide range of growing conditions, producing high yields with a near-optimum balance of nutrients for human consumption. China is the world’s largest potato producer and continues to account for a large part of the global increase in potato production. Although the potato can be highly productive, it has a relatively shallow root system and often requires significant nutrient inputs to maintain tuber productivity and quality. Each metric ton of tubers removes approximately 3.8 kg nitrogen (N), 0.6 kg phosphorus (P), and 4.4 kg potassium (K). Proper nutrient management, therefore, is extremely important for sustaining high tuber yield and quality. Lack of adequate balanced fertilization in China is reportedly a yield-limiting factor in some areas. For example, potassium (K) is very important for producing a potato crop with high tuber yield and quality. Limited K resources in China and continued cropping have resulted in below-adequate levels of soil K in many regions of the country, which will impact potato production. On the other hand, based on U.S. experience, the high nutrient demand by potato, application of high rates of fertilizer, and production on coarser textured soils can result in nutrient losses. Nutrient best-management practices are developed with the objective of optimizing production, net returns, and minimizing environmental degradation. In general, N has the most important impact on tuber yield and quality compared with the other essential elements. Best management practices for N fertilization include appropriate selection of rate, source, timing, and method of application. Optimal management of irrigation is also important to improve N-uptake efficiency, and minimize N losses while maintaining high yields and quality. Phosphorus is another key nutrient that is important from both production and environmental standpoints. Adequate P is required for optimum tuber-set, while excessive rates may result in soil-P buildup and potential runoff problems. This review will focus on various management techniques to maximize nutrient-uptake efficiency by potatoes.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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