Potatoes in Canada

News Fertility and Nutrients
Slow-release fertilizer research shows no reduction in potato yield

June 6, 2023  By Potatoes in Canada

New research on P.E.I. has convinced some Island potato farmers to switch over to what are known as enhanced efficiency fertilizers, that slowly release nitrogen when plants need it over the course of the season.

As reported by the CBC, the trials also showed a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions where the fertilizers were used, down as much 60 per cent in some fields.

The studies were done over the last three years as part of the Living Labs initiative, a partnership between the federal and provincial governments, P.E.I. growers, private industry and watershed groups.

Potato researcher Steve Watts of Genesis Crop Systems, described the enhanced efficiency fertilizers as giving crops three square meals a day, instead of every meal at breakfast.

“Traditionally on P.E.I., most farmers have put a lot of their fertilizer ingredients on at the time of planting,” Watts said.

“At that time, there’s not even a plant to use those nutrients. So they’re kind of in limbo until, in the case of potatoes, maybe 20, to 30, or even 40 days after planting.”

“What we wanted to do is try to stretch out the availability of the nutrition,” Watts said.

“We’re still applying it at, or close to planting time, but we’re planning on it being more available later on in the season, when the plant really needs that extra shot for growth.”

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