American Potato Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 227–234 | Cite as

Potato yield reductions associated with certain fertilizer mixtures

  • J. J. Meisinger
  • D. R. Bouldin
  • E. D. Jones


Studies were conducted to find the cause of a potato disorder which was characterized by growth retardation, poor root development, “mouse ear” symptoms and serious yield reductions. Since the damaged plants were grown from material indexed for freedom from disease, the stunting was thought to result from some type of nutritional disturbance. Field investigations were undertaken to determine the effects of several fertilizer materials on tuber yields. Fertilizers were prepared using urea or ammonium nitrate as N sources and monoammonium phosphate or diammonium phosphate as P sources. The fertilizers were applied at planting in bands 5 cm to the side and 5 cm below the seedpieces. These studies showed that fertilizer materials which produced an initially alkaline reaction with the soil, such as urea and/or diammonium phosphate, caused significant yield reductions. Further laboratory studies indicated that ammonia and/or nitrite toxicities were probably the underlying causes of the yield reductions. Since potatoes are often grown on light sandy soils and often receive large amounts of fertilizer at planting, this problem can be most easily controlled by applying fertilizers which do not contain appreciable quantities of urea or diammonium phosphate.

In 1973 certain areas of foundation potato fields at the Uihlein Farm of Cornell Universityp1 suffered from a disorder manifested as growth retardation at the 10–15 cm stage. Recovery was highly variable, ranging from almost complete to virtually none 10–14 days after initial cessation of growth. Further examination of retarded plants revealed poor root development, and subsequently “mouse ear” symptoms became quite prevalent on plants in the affected areas. Serious yield reductions were evident at harvest. Since the planting stocks at the Uihlein Farm are derived from material indexed for freedom from disease, and since insect damage is minimal, the stunting was thought to have resulted from some type of physiologic disturbance.

Key Words

Yield reduction potato fertilizer damage physiologic disturbance ammonia toxicity 


Se condujeron estudios para encontrar la causa de un desorden en la papa caracterizado por el retardo en crecimiento, el desarrollo pobre de las raices, síntomas de “oreja de ratón” y reducciones sérias en el rendimiento. Desde que el material dañado fue crecido de material indexado libre de enfermedades, el enanismo se pensé que se debía a algún disturbio nutricional. Se realizaron investigaciones en el campo para determinar los efectos de varios fertilizantes sobre el rendimiento de tubérculos. Los fertilizantes se prepararon usando urea o nitrato de amonio como fuentes de N y fosfato monoamónico o diamónico como fuentes de P. Los fertilizantes se aplicaron a la plantación en bandas de 5 cm al lado y 5 cm debajo de la semilla. Los estudios demonstraron que los fertilizantes que produjeron una reacción alcalina inicial con el suelo, tal como la urea y/o el fosfato diamónico, causaran reducciones del rendimiento significantes. Más estudios de laboratorio indicaron que toxicidad de amonio y/o nitrito fueran probablemente la causa de las reducciones del rendimiento. Desde que las papas son a veces crecidas en suelo arenoso suelto y a veces recibe grandes cantidades de fertilizantes a la plantación, este problema puede facilmente ser controlado con aplicaciones de fertilizantes que no contengan cantidades apreciables de urea o fosfato diamónico.


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Copyright information

© Springer 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. Meisinger
    • 1
  • D. R. Bouldin
    • 2
  • E. D. Jones
    • 2
  1. 1.Agricultural Research ServiceU.S. Department of AgricultureBeltsville
  2. 2.Cornell UniversityIthaca

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