Don’t overlook foliar nutrition during tuber bulking


08 July 2022
Crop nutrition specialists shares advice

POTATO growers are being urged not to overlook foliar nutrition during tuber bulking to ensure high quality final yields.

Chris Bond, Commercial Technical Manager for crop nutrition at FMC, says that in light of high input prices growers will benefit from maximising nutritional applications, particularly. phosphate, potassium, magnesium and manganese.

“Making sure plants receive accurate nutrition during the bulking phase will ensure tubers grow to a marketable size and will also help to build starch content,” he said.

“Tuber bulking is an energy demanding period where phosphate has an important role in the formation of ATP, which helps to drive plant energy, so is crucial for helping plants to accumulate biomass.

“Potassium is also important as its helps to regulate water. Alongside energy, tubers need a significant volume of water during bulking, reduced water availability can cause quality problems, uneven tuber bulking, malformation of tubers and also cracking. This means a potassium deficiency can have a significant impact on tuber development and quality.”

Mr Bond also warns growers not to underestimate the power of magnesium and manganese, as these can help create a large and active green canopy.

“As energy is in such high demand during this period, plants need a good canopy that’s actively photosynthesising, so having a boost of magnesium and manganese is incredibly beneficial.

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“To deliver the correct nutrients for tubers during this growth phase, I’d recommend growers apply foliar nutrition products including KuruS®, a highly soluble clear liquid fertiliser for a good potassium supply,” he said.

KuruS® can be applied at the start of the bulking phase, with a follow-up application after 10-14 days if required. As well as potassium, the product contains sulphur which is necessary for nitrogen utilisation and protein formation.

“Foliar nutrition is particularly beneficial as it delivers nutrients directly to the plant tissue, bypassing the soil. It can also be built into blight programmes, so it isn’t too much of a laborious application process,” Chris said.

“This year, conditions have been warm and dry, so most growers have experienced a good establishment period. Foliar nutrition will therefore help growers to capitalise on that potential, and deliver high quality final yields."

Photo: Blackthorn Arable

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