British Potato 09: Collaboration project increases confidence in research

Monitoring 88 separate crops is proving that Cambridge University Farm‘s advice on nitrogen and seed rates can save costs or increase target yields.

As part of the Potato Council‘s Grower Collaboration project, CUF researchers have been advising six potato businesses on N or seed rates based on its research findings in recent years. The idea is to help speed the transfer of the research into practical use.

Typically, CUF recommended about 40kgN/ha less nitrogen for the large-scale test strips than the farm’s standard practice compared on the same field, CUF’s David Firman said during a seminar at British Potato 2009.

That resulted in no decrease in overall yield, but did increase the target over 40mm tuber fraction by just over 1t/ha, he explained.

In the seed rate trials, reductions in seed rate advised by CUF of about 0.6t/ha, slightly reduced yields, but again increased the proportion of the target high-value fraction.

“Overall, it has given growers confidence that changes could be made, and many have made similar moves in their commercial crops as a result.”

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