ENHANCING SUSTAINABILITY OF FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN THE NORTHEAST
Location: New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory
Title: Comparing modeled productivity to historical data in New England potato production systems
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2011
Publication Date: May 31, 2012
Citation: Frantz, J., Larkin, R.P., Trusty, G.M., Honeycutt, C., He, Z., Olanya, O.M., Halloran, J.M. 2012. Comparing modeled productivity to historical data in New England potato production systems. In: He, Z., Larkin, R.P., Honeycutt, C.W., editors. Sustainable Potato Production: Global Case Studies. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Springer. p. 81-85.
Potato yields in Northern Maine have remained fairly constant for the last 70 years. Many long-term projects have sought to identify the limitations to potato yield, but identifying limiting factors is difficult without first identifying the upper limits of potato production. A simple, light-driven mechanistic model is validated with specific case studies, and then, potential yield limitations to potato production in this region are identified based on the system analysis of the model. It was found that meteorologically-limited productivity peaks at about 55 Mg ha-1, which is about 80% higher than historical averages. Most yield increases in specific case studies were due to enhancement of radiation capture, which was achievable either by improved water management or disease suppression. Strategies for sustained yield improvements should continue to improve on radiation capture, either by increasing the peak radiation capture potential, prolonging the radiation capture duration, or by shifting radiation capture to coincide with available light. This model is useful to set realistic productivity goals for this region, can be easily adapted to other regions, and indicates strategies for potato yield improvement.