Nutrient Management in Potatoes

Potatoes are high-yielding crops and as such, remove considerable quantities of nutrients from the soil. To maintain the quality and yield of your crop, as well as the sustainability of your land, nutrient supplementation is vital. In some soils, it is also necessary to apply nutrients additional to those removed by the crop to account for nutrient tie-up and leaching.

Why is using a starter fertiliser important when it comes to potato crop health and quality?

Potatoes require a balanced nutritional program. This is particularly important at planting and in the early stages of the plant’s life cycle to ensure that the crop yields to its potential. The majority of the plant’s nutrient requirements are taken up in the first 6-10 weeks. Nutrient deficiencies during this period can reduce the yield of the crop, therefore applying a starter fertiliser is essential. Depending on your soil requirements, applying fertiliser in an NPKS plus trace element blend to potato crops is an effective way to manage your crop and soil nutrients.

What nutrients are required the most at planting?

The potassium requirement of potatoes is higher than any other nutrient therefore it is important to ensure that potassium availability is not limited. Potassium is highly mobile within plant tissues and is involved in photosynthesis, protein synthesis and the breakdown of carbohydrates.  Similarly, phosphorus is often a limiting nutrient in Australian soils and is necessary to promote early root and shoot development.  Applying sulphur alongside nitrogen to maximise nitrogen uptake is the best way to ensure a great return on investment. Magnesium is a key component of photosynthesis, and in a fast-developing crop like potato, it is vital, as it increases specific gravity and improves cooking colour.

What fertilisers is the best for potato planting?

Impact Fertilisers Tunza Spuds is a potato starter range of NPKS plus trace element blends specifically formulated to meet potato crop requirements at planting in Australian conditions. Tunza Spuds analysis can be adjusted to your specific requirements and calcium, magnesium, boron, copper and molybdenum can be added upon request to improve plant resistance to disease, pest, and environmental stresses, increase the percentage of acceptable tuber sizing, improve shelf life, specific gravity and cooking colour. Impact’s Tunza Spuds Range also incorporates ZincStar which increases the even distribution of zinc and promotes healthy green foliage in the early stages of growth as well as cell wall integrity and plays a role in the production of chlorophyll and carbohydrates.

Find out more about our Tunza Spuds range here


Price, G.H. (2006) Australian Soil Fertility Manual. Melbourne, VIC: CSIRO Publishing.