Potato Cropping Ideas

  1. A strong biological soil is the backbone of maximum production of both yield and quality in any crop. Benefits of increased biological activity in the soil are:

  1. Water Penetration and holding capacity by promoting increased soil flocculation. As the microorganisms move about in the soil in search of their food they restructure the soil by pushing the particles around. These particles are then held in place by the fungal hyphae and the polysaccharides that are exudates from the bacteria and other organisms resulting in a soil structure or crumb structuring of the soil.
  2. Increased nutrient availability to the plant by oxygenating the soil and thus stimulating more root development along with an increase in nutrient mineralization.
  3. Suppression of soil borne diseases and root feeding nematodes due to competitive exclusion.
  1. BioBase at 1 quart and Plus E at 6 ounces per acre in the fall:

  1. BioBase is product that provides food substrates, enzymes and bio stimulants to the beneficial aerobic microorganisms in the soil. While BioBase stimulates the complete soil food web Plus E provides an enzyme package that works more particularly with the fungal activity. Thus providing a stubble or crop residue breakdown recycling the nutrients or energy used to grow the previous crop. We know that 50% to 60% of the energy used to grow the crop is left in the field as residue and roots.
  2. Application may be made through the irrigation system, impregnating on a dry fertilizer blend, adding to a liquid fertilizer blend, or sprayed directly onto the soil or crop residue before or after tillage.
  3. Timing of application can be done any time just before or after harvest is complete. If fall fumigation is planned a 21 day waiting period is necessary. Break down of crop residue is a function of biological activity and thus requires moisture and warm soil temperature and as such the earlier fall applications will prove most beneficial.
  4. As crop residue is a function of soil biological activity the residue must be in contact with the soil for any biological action to occur. Any place the residue does not contact the soil prevents the microorganisms from doing their work.
  5. Applying 4 ounces per acre Microdigest along with the BioBase an d Plus E will increase the biological degradation of the residues in the soil. Microdigest is an inoculum of specific micro organisms that were selected for their ability to degrade crop and toxic residues.
  1. BioBase at 1 quart per acre in the spring:

  1. BioBase stimulates the complete beneficial soil food web using food substrates, enzymes, and bio stimulants but enhances more the beneficial bacterial activity.
  2. Application can be made, as with BioBase and Plus E, either through the irrigation, impregnating on a dry fertilizer blend, added to a liquid fertilizer blend or sprayed directly onto the soil. If spring fumigation is planned a 21 day waiting period is necessary.
  3. Timing of application can be any time that works easiest into the cultural practices of the grower. Keep in mind that the earlier the biology is kicked into gear in relation to the crop growth the sooner the benefits and advantages will be available to the new growing crop.
  1. Pre-Plant Fertilizer:

  1. Impregnation of BioBase could be done to ease their application. Sup-O-Phos could also be impregnated onto any phosphate dry fertilizer blend. As the fertilizer becomes water soluble the Sup-O-Phos will complex, or tie up, the free exchange positions of the phosphate. By tying up the exchange sites the phosphate is held away from reacting with the calcium and other minerals in the soil and thus making it available to the plant for a longer period of time.
  2. A reduction of Pre-plant Phosphate to 50 lbs and then applying more later through the water at the following rates and times gives the plant a greater root stimulation as well as holding P tissue numbers up.
  1. When you can row the potatoes apply through the water 5 gallons of 10-34-0 with 2 quarts Sup-O-Phos.
  2. Weekly thereafter for 3 weeks apply 15 lbs P in the form of 10-34-0 and Sup-O-Phos added at a rate of 1 quart Sup-O-Phos to 20 gallons of 10-34-0.
  3. Weeks 6 after rowing apply 5 gallons of 10-34-0 and 2 quarts of Sup-O-Phos.
  4. After week 6 application simply react to the tissue samples for any further P needed throughout the season.
  1. Seed Treatment:

  1. An application of RootMax has many benefits. Some of which are:
  1. Enhanced germination and root development. RootMax, through nutrition and enzymes stimulate sprouting and root development and thus you will get a stronger better developed root mass.
  2. RootMax stimulate the Mycorrhizal fungi around the seed piece. Mycorrhiza has a symbiotic association between the fungi and the plant root. Most agricultural crops depend on or benefit substantially from mycorrhizae. As these fungi colonize the root they provide two functions; 1) help in the exchange and or availability of nutrients that the plant needs as the plant needs them and 2) When the root is colonized the positions or sites where an exudates may signal to a disease organism that a root is hear are covered up and used for beneficial purposes.
  1. PGPR Galaxy is a universal bio-stimulant for plant growth promoting rhizobacteria that increases the biomass of mycorrhizae, nitrogen-fixers, P-solubilizers and disease antagonists in soils.
  2. Application can be done during the seed cutting process.
  1. RootMax can be simply applied as a spray on the seed piece as it goes across the rollers that eliminate the chips. A flood jet nozzle can be used to apply as small amount liquid as possible. The RootMax rate is 6-8 ounces per acre. A grower must estimate how much seed is to be planted per acre then know about how many sacks per hour his seed cutter can cut to calibrate the sprayer nozzle.
  2. PGPR Galaxy can be added to the RootMax mixture at a rate of 1 ounce per acre.
  1. Planting:

  1. A pop-up fertilizer that is sprayed or dribbled directly over the seed has shown some benefits. A mix of 2 lbs Urea, 1 quart Sup-O-Phos, 1 pint Sup-O-K, 6 ounces RootMax, 1 ounce Galaxy and 4-6 ounces BioBase in 2.5 gallons of water and applied at 5-7 gallons per acre gives the potatoes a quickly available fertilizer as well as a strong bio stimulant and inoculum around the seed piece resulting in a healthy start for the plant. This also gives another way to get the RootMax seed treatment as well as the Galaxy applied.
  2. Planter bands are an efficient placement and application of phosphate fertilizer as well as some micro nutrients. Adding Sup-O-Phos at 2 quarts per acre to the mix will complex the phosphate as well as providing a quickly available phosphate. Z-Pak at a rate of 1 pint per acre provides a nice micro nutrient package of sulfur, copper, manganese and zinc. Other custom micro nutrient packages can be added using Modern Ag Products as desired.
  1. Cultivation, Lay-by, or Dammer Diking:

  1. If the potatoes are up when this practice is done an application of VitaMax at 1 quart per acre can be done very easily. Rigging up nozzles to spray a small, 6-7 inch, band directly over the potato row will allow the application but only treating a small portion of the acreage. Calibrating the system to apply 1 quart of VitaMax per actual sprayed acreage reduces the total amount of product needed per field of potatoes. VitaMax can be tank mixed with any fungicide or insecticide.
  2. VitaMax applied at this point in the growth of the potatoes gives them an increased boost of energy in root development as well as the start of hooking. A stronger first set will be accomplished helping to provide more uniform as well as larger tubers at harvest.
  1. Fertigation:

  1. Addition of Nutri-Aid to all liquid nitrogen sulfur mixes will help complex or tie up the molecules so as to reduce the leaching and volitization of these two elements during and after application. Nutri-Aid rates is 2 pints per 15 gallons of fertilizer mix, best results are accomplished when the Nutri-Aid is tank mixed for 24 to 48 hours before application.
  2. Adding Sup-O-Phos to any liquid phosphate at a rate of 1 quart per 20 gallons of fertilizer provides a Complexing agent as well as a readily available Ortho phosphate to the plant. Tank mixes of this kind increases the efficiency of the phosphate fertilizer applied as the exchange sites are covered and not available to react with the elements in the soil. As such the phosphate is available to the plant for a longer period of time.
  1. Foliar Feeding:

  1. Modern Ag Products has a hole line of foliar fertilizers that with a unique carrying agent make them more available to the plant. Some of these are:
  1. A custom foliar can be mixed as to tissue sample results from the supply of individual elements in the Modern Ag Products line.
  2. Modern Ag Products has some foliar mixes that are pre blended for you convenience. A few that have some value in potatoes are:
  1. VitaMax a 12-8-4 mix with some micronutrients along with natural metabolism enhancers makes this a great foliar. VitaMax can be sued in many different situations during the growth cycle of the potato. Here is a list of a few:
  1. After a late frost VitaMax will kick the plant in gear to minimize the frost damage.
  2. After hail damage or server winds VitaMax will stimulate the potato to come back.
  3. When the potatoes just doesn't seem to be growing VitaMax will start the system.
  4. Latter in the season when the potato prematurely seems to be going down; a shot of VitaMax will hold the plant even, not going down any more, for 2 weeks.
  5. When or if herbicide carry over or misapplication is discovered VitaMax will stimulate the metabolism of the potato as the herbicide is denatured.
  1. Z-Pak a zinc, manganese, copper, sulfur mix.
  1. A particular element that needs some mention of its own in this discussion is Calcium.
  1. As everyone in the agronomic industry knows calcium does not move down in the plant.
  2. Applying Calcium as a foliar is like putting a square peg in a round hole but free potassium with the foliar seems to grease the system.
  3. We at Modern Ag Products have done a small amount of research with calcium foliar in potatoes with some interesting specific gravity results. Calcium was applied the last 8 weeks on a weekly basis at a rate of 1 pint per acre along with 4 ounces of potassium and 4 ounces of Enhancer. The specific gravity in all sizes of potatoes was 4 points higher where treatment were made.
  1. Finishing or Bulking

  1. To start the maturation process a reduction in the nitrogen level is necessary. This usually starts about mid season as nitrogen application and management decisions are made after each tissue sample results are reviewed. To obtain best results the nitrogen petiole levels need to be around 10,000 to 12,000 ppm or total leaf nitrogen of 3.20% 3 weeks prior to killing or harvest.
  2. An application of 1quart of CFM and 1 pint of Calcium will speed up the efficiency of the maturation process. Doing such will result in as increase not only in the bulking, increase size of tubers, but also a better storable product at the harvest.