Optimizing Phosphorus Fertilizer Management in Potato Production

Carl J. Rosen, Keith A. Kelling, Jeffery C. Stark, Gregory A. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Management of fertilizer phosphorus (P) is a critical component of potato production systems as potato has a relatively high P requirement and inefficiently uses soil P. Phosphorus promotes rapid canopy development, root cell division, tuber set, and starch synthesis. Adequate P is essential for optimizing tuber yield, solids content, nutritional quality, and resistance to some diseases. Although soil test P is the primary tool for assessing P fertilizer needs, in some areas petiole P analysis has been successfully utilized to guide in-season P applications. Potato has been shown in some studies to respond to fertilizer P at soil test levels considered very high for most other crops (100+ mg kg-1 Bray P1 or Mehlich I or III and 20+ mg kg-1 sodium bicarbonate) especially on medium- to finer-textured soils. Even on high-testing soils, fertilizer P rates for top yields sometimes exceed 150 kg P2O5 ha-1. In addition, many states/provinces continue to recommend half or more of the amount of P in the harvested portion of the crop irrespective of soil test P level. In most situations, few differences are expected among fertilizer P sources; however, high rates of diammonium phosphate (DAP) or urea-phosphate (UAP) should not be band-applied in contact or near the seed piece. Most research determined that fertilizer P was most efficiently used when band-applied at planting (e.g., 5 cm to each side of the seed piece); however, some western USA work on high-pH soils showed increased yields and petiole P levels with preplant broadcast applications. In-season applications with the irrigation water can be successful when the potato roots are sufficiently close to the soil surface; however, most research indicates that P applications are more effective when applied at planting or early in the season. Potato fertilizer phosphorus best management practices include: (1) apply the fertilizer P rate calibrated for local soils; (2) band-apply fertilizer P at least 5 cm from the seed piece, especially on very sandy soils or where DAP or UAP are used; (3) use petiole P tests to determine the need for in-season applications; (4) account for all P sources applied, including animal manures; and (5) utilize the best soil conservation practices to reduce P losses to surface waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-160
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Potato Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • P BMPs
  • P placement/timing
  • P response
  • P sources
  • Solanum tuberosum

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Optimizing Phosphorus Fertilizer Management in Potato Production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this