New Potato Technology Saves Growers Money

Scientists at Plant & Food Research, based in New Zealand, have developed the potato calculator, a decision-support web-site that enables growers to optimize nitrogen and water use as well as predict yield and maturity dates. This technology is helping potato growers in North America, Australia, and New Zealand save money on fertilizer and irrigation costs.

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The calculator considers application schedules for nitrogen and water, highlighting deficits or unnecessary surpluses as well as resulting yield and is helping to take the guesswork out of crop management, Peter Roborgh told potato industry members attending the Seventh World Potato Congress in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was held March 22-25.

Roborgh is general manager of Plant & Food Research’s Idaho-based business unit CropLogic, which was involved in testing the calculator. The calculator received an excellent response from growers and processors, alike, added Roborgh

“Growers appreciate accurate input into optimal application schedules for fertilizer and water as well as yield prediction,” he said. “Processors appreciate knowledge of crop size and the harvest dates for optimum quality and it helps with their planning in the factories.”

The software for the calculator contains a simulation model that is based on a day-by-day understanding of how a potato crop grows and uses soil supplies of water and nitrogen in response to daily local weather and other unique local factors. It guides the application of nitrogen and water to meet the optimal requirements of the crop while reducing the risk of nitrogen leaching.

For more information about the potato calculator, go to www.potatocalculator.com