Research reports on potato agronomy

The AHDB research projects on growing potato crops have been categorised according to the topics covered, to allow readers to identify the most relevant report(s).

Click on a project title to access more information on the project, including the final report.

Seed rate recommendations

R296 & R446 Development of seed rate recommendations for potatoes (2008-2014)

  • early work used the relationship between the number of stems, seed tuber weight and seed age to produce seed rate recommendations
  • later work was to develop simplified systems for producing preliminary seed rate recommendations
  • includes description of the calculation of parameters needed to establish seed rates

807/214 The effects of production practices, storage conditions and sprouting on number of stems per seed tuber and the grading of potato crops (2001-2005) Reports available via R296/R446

  • effects of seed size, sprouting, planting density, planting date and controlled atmosphere treatment on the number of stems produced
  • differences in seed age affect stem populations and tuber size distributions


Impact of seed agronomy and storage on ware production

11140032 Quantifying Effects of Potato Seed Multiplication Systems and Storage Practices on Ware Production (2016-2022)

  • cumulative effects of different storage and handling practices on seed health and performance

 11140001 Agronomy fellowship: understanding tuber formation to improve tuber quality and reduce greening (2015-2018)

  • influence of seed size, temperature, nitrogen rate on stolon architecture
  • relationship between stolon architecture (depth from the soil surface and length) and tuber greening


Nutrient use and variety determinacy

1110044 Improving Nitrogen Recommendations for Potatoes Through Estimation of Determinacy of Varieties (2017-2020)

  • protocol to determine nitrogen grouping of new varieties

3110149017 Review of evidence on the principles of crop nutrient management and nutrition for potatoes (2016)

  • review of published data to inform RB209– the “Fertiliser Manual”

R405 Improved canopy and N management for the GB potato crop (2008-2011)

  • testing the nitrogen management model (R273)
  • total N uptake, canopy persistence and yield potential
  • N falling into the wheeling is unlikely to be recovered efficiently
  • effects of poor soil conditions (compaction, cloddiness) on the N uptake and yield
  • irrigation and N use efficiency

R273 Improved nitrogen management for potato crops (2006-2008)

  • nitrogen management model
  • crop yield, N uptake and radiation absorption data from 211 experimental or commercial crops in the UK and in the US
  • factors affecting early N uptake, (e.g. insufficient N, water stress or compaction) reduced N uptake and yield potential

 807/228 Evaluation of the soil nitrogen supply (SNS) system - opportunities for further improvements to the nitrogen economy of the GB potato crop (2001-2004)

  • N requirements of varieties grown on differing soil types
  • refers to a superseded version of RB209

R295 Grower collaboration project (2007-2014)

  • Comparison of standard and reduced N application rates and reduced seed rates


Soils, cultivation, compaction, cover crops

11140035 PhD Soil root interactions in potato (2017-2021)

  • root to shoot signalling and impacts on photosynthesis, water allocation and yield

 Platforms to test and demonstrate sustainable soil management for potatoes (2012-2016)

  • impact of cultivation or destoning depths, alternative cultivation systems, organic matter additions on soil physical quality

 R452 & R459 Improving cultivation practices in potatoes to increase window of workability and structural stability (2012-2016)

  • effects of water content at cultivation, organic matter content on soil cultivatability, bulk density, structural stability
  • effect of different seedbed cultivation depths on SNS on mineral soils
  • effects of consolidation and profile of ridges on soil properties and crop performance

R444 Managing cultivations and cover crops for improved profitability and environmental benefit in potatoes (2011-2015)

  • effect of legume vs brassica cover crops on soil structure and N supply to the following potato crop  

R261 Effect of soil compaction on potato growth and its removal by cultivation (CUF Review 2005)

R260 Soil Compaction and Potato Crops (ADAS Review 2005)


Irrigation, water use, bruising and common scab

91140001 AHDB Rotations Research Partnership rotations partnership (2016-2021)

Work package 4: linking soils, water and roots with crop productivity

  • how soil management practices (irrigation) alter soil conditions, root distribution and function and crop performance
  • how soil management and genotypic differences in root length distribution interact to determine water use efficiency and yield

R445 Late season water management in potatoes (2011-2014)

  • effect of late-season irrigation on skin set and bruising

R406 Improving water use efficiency through understanding soil and plant water balance (2008-2011)

  • to determine the optimum soil water content for cultivation – to avoid compaction and create a clod-free tilth
  • how plants balance their water status in relation to evaporative demand under different
  • soil conditions
  • impact of watering regimes on common scab and cracking

 R263 Management of tuber water status to reduce bruising (2005-2008)

  • effect of water supply, soil compaction, defoliation and root cutting on bruising

R252 Bruising sensitivity at harvest (2004-2007)

  • effect of soil moisture and crop maturity at haulm destruction on changes in sensitivity to tuber bruising at harvest

11140047 Review of Liming, pH and Common Scab Risk in Potatoes (2018)

  • review of relationship between common scab, pH, liming and calcium in potatoes

R448 Common scab control - reducing the irrigation water requirements and understanding the effects of beneficial soil microorganisms (2011 - 2014)

  • irrigation scheduling for salad crops and varieties less susceptible to common scab than Maris Piper
  • mechanisms by which irrigation reduces the population build-up of pathogenic Streptomyces
  • effects of beneficial soil micro-organisms and biofumigation
  • soil structure within the ridge/bed and optimal irrigation regimes for scab control
  • effects of over-watering on crop growth, tuber quality and nitrogen use efficiency

R429 Effect of contrasting irrigation regimes on populations of Streptomyces and potential antagonists and control of common scab (2009-2010)

  • DNA sequencing used to identify groups of microorganisms which may be responsible for suppression of scab
  • field experiments with five different irrigation regimes. Weekly sampling of tubers one to five weeks after tuber initiation to determine Streptomyces populations, and at harvest to measure yield and levels of scab

 R272 Integration of precision irrigation and non-water based measures to suppress common scab of potato (2006-2009)

  • no consistent effects of non-water based control measures (soil amendments with sulphur or rapeseed meal) or common scab