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R405 Improved Canopy and N management

Publication Date: 
15 May 2012
Author/Contact :
Marc Allison

Contractor :
Cambridge University Farm

Full Research Project Title: Improved canopy and N management for the GB potato crop
Duration: September 2008 - August 2011

Aim: To develop systems that will give growers better control of canopy and nitrogen management.

A nitrogen management model that describes total N uptake and the redistribution of N from haulm to tubers as a function of the quantity of radiation absorbed by the crop has been developed through AHDB Potatoes funding. The model can be used as a canopy management tool and its successful implementation allows growers to “design” their own crop canopy to maximise nutrient use over the season, so that wastage of applied nitrogen is minimised. Additional work is now being carried out to develop the model further and so that it will use information on variety, specific soil conditions, and any other relevant factors to determine more precisely how the canopy should develop over the season and how N applications should be managed to achieve this. Aspects that are being studied include:

  • The factors that limit the capacity of a crop to take up N early in the season
  • Factors which may result in premature canopy senescence
  • The varietal characteristics of N uptake and redistribution that bring about increased N use efficiency
  • Identification of the circumstances where split-N applications may be an appropriate tool to supplement N uptake


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