Monitoring Optimized Fertilizer for Potatoes
Monitoring the quality characteristics of stored potatoes reveals the ongoing benefits of balanced crop nutrition to improve tuber quality
Ongoing monitoring of stored potatoes from a fertilizer field trial in France revealed some valuable results. The balanced crop nutrients in the field, delivered with Polysulphate fertilizer, result in improved tuber quality over time.
Optimizing Fertilizer Strategy
In a potato field trial in Amiens in northern France, the performance of Polysulphate and ICL PotashpluS fertilizers were compared with other potassium fertilizers. When the potato crop was harvested in October, samples of each treatment (control without Potash, 300 units of K2O with KCl, same amount with Polysulphate, with ICL PotashpluS, and with SOP) went into store where they were weighed regularly to measure any loss.
However, weight is not the only measurement that matters for potatoes. It’s dry matter that counts as this directly influences oil absorption rate in fried products and the texture of cooked potatoes. It’s also an indicator of risk of bruising, with higher dry matter often meaning more damage.
French Fries for Science
Three months on, ICL Agronomists in France, Frederic Carnec and Matthieu De Villenau performed food technology tests to assess the all-important dry matter in the samples from different fertilizer treatments. De Villenau used the hydrometer test, used extensively in the potato processing sector. This automatically and quickly measures each potato sample’s ‘weight in water’ and calculates the dry matter content, starch percentage, underwater weight, and specific gravity.
Meanwhile Frederic Carnec chopped and fried french fries precisely, measuring the quality of the chips. The results are that Polysulphate and PotashpluS fertilizers have helped make potatoes of a better quality than alternative potassium nutrition products.
Fertilizer Strategy from Field to Table
This kind of attention to supply chain detail and demands is an important part of our approach with Polysulphate fertilizer. The work of our agronomy teams shows that investing in our fertilizer products, made with the natural multi-nutrient mineral polyhalite, brings the farmer good returns on investment at harvest, and for a crop such as potato, while it is kept in storage too.