Correct balanced nutrition of the crop prior to harvest, particularly calcium and boron nutrition can have positive effects against soft rots.
Evidence show that strengthening the tuber cell wall with calcium can help reduce the severity of Erwinia soft rot in storage.
This study shows the relationship between calcium availability, peel calcium content and weight loss caused by Erwinia soft rot.
High levels of calcium in the tuber also reduce bruising risks at harvest and subsequent transportation. Varieties vary in their calcium uptake, however, using calcium nitrate rather than ammonium nitrate maximizes uptake, reduces the risk of damage allowing ingress of disease.
This trial from the USA shows that the use of calcium nitrate rather than ammonium nitrate resulted in higher levels of calcium in tubers over a range of different varieties.
Alongside potassium, calcium and magnesium, boron is an important element present in the cell wall. Here it acts as cement between pectins, providing cohesive strength for cell tissues. Therefore boron affects tuber storage quality characteristics. Boron also affects calcium absorption, so supplies are important to ensure a balanced nutrition.
This trial shows how boron influences the calcium content of tubers and so also the incidence of internal rust spot.
Our collection of tools help you to make better nutrient decisions in making the right fertiliser choice and applying the right amount of nutrients at the right time and in the right place so that the crop yield and quality can be maximised whilst still keeping costs in check, avoiding over-fertilisation and protecting the environment.
If you would like more information on potato agronomy or nutrition and would like to speak to one of our area managers or agronomists please find all their contact details here