Economic Optimum Nitrogen Fertilization Rates and Nitrogen Fertilization Rate Effects on Tuber Characteristics of Potato Cultivars
Fontes, P.C. R.; Braun, H.; Busato, C.; Cecon, P.R.
Potato Research 53(3): 167-179
The objective of the research was to determine the economic optimum nitrogen (N) fertilization rates and to determine the effects of N fertilization rates on tuber characteristics and fresh mass loss after storage under cold and ambient conditions of four potato cultivars, Agata, Asterix, Atlantic, and Monalisa. The experiments were, simultaneously, conducted in the same area and similar experimental conditions during the fall/winter period in Vicosa, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. In each experiment, five N fertilization rates (0, 50, 100, 200, 300 kg ha(-1)) were evaluated in a randomized complete block design. For all cultivars, increasing N fertilization rate increased total and marketable yields and tuber dry matter yield up to a maximum following a quadratic model. Increasing N fertilization rate linearly increased the tuber protein concentration of Atlantic and Monalisa and had no effect on tuber pH. N fertilization rate effects on tuber mass, tuber titratable acidity, and fresh mass loss during storage were cultivar-dependent. N use efficiency (tuber yield divided by N fertilization rate) decreased with increase in N fertilization rate. The economic optimum N fertilization rates ranged from 147 to 201 kg ha(-1) depending upon cultivar and relative prices of N and potato tubers. Depending on the cultivar, under favorable price conditions (low N price and high tuber price), the economic optimum N fertilization rates to be applied by potato growers were 92-95% of the estimated N fertilization rate for obtaining the maximum potato yield, whereas under unfavorable conditions (high N price and low potato tuber price) the economic optimum N fertilization rates to be applied should be decreased to 86-92% of the rates for maximum yield.