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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal American Journal of potato
Volume (Issue) 61
Page(s) 97 - 114
Title of proceedings American Journal of potato


Potatoes require high nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates because of their poor N efficiency. Better understanding of N dynamic in potato crops could improve N efficiency and thus enhance crop profitability and reduce N losses. A similar field experiment was conducted in Switzerland in 3 years, from 2009 to 2011, to investigate the yield and quality response to N fertilization of two commercial potato cultivars with different tuber qualities, Bintje and Laura. Five doses of ammonium nitrate were tested: 0, 80, 120, 160 and 200 kg N ha−1. Aboveground and belowground biomass evolution, total yield, starch concentration and tuber sizes were measured annually. In 2011, the total N uptake and the soil mineral N content were also measured during the growing season and at harvest. The study showed that N fertilization had a positive effect on yield and the percentage of large tubers (> 70 mm) and a negative effect on starch concentration. Both cultivars presented the same potential yield, although cv. Laura’s yield was more affected by N fertilization deficiency and more responsive to the late N fertilizer application. At harvest, both cultivars had a similar N uptake efficiency and N utilization efficiency. However, they differed with respect to N uptake dynamics. Nitrogen uptake was slower for cv. Laura than for cv. Bintje due to a longer period required for the development of the belowground biomass. The results provide useful recommendations for improvement of N fertilization practices (e.g. rate and time of application) of these two cultivars in Swiss conditions. Keywords Belowgroundbiomass . Nitrogen nutrition index . Nitrogenuptake . Nitrogen use efficiency. Starch concentration