Potato Production and Soil Health and Quality

Challenges in the Field

Potato production brings significant challenges to growers regarding the opportunity to participate in soil health and quality building measures on their fields (Hills et al., 2018). A recent review called for improved soil health and quality to help ensure the long term sustainability of potato production systems. In the article, the authors asked for more attention to be paid to the biological foundations (soil microbes) that make for strong, productive soil that complement the usual focus on the chemical (e.g., nutrients and salinity) and physical (pH, CEC, etc.) components of soil, (Lareen et al., 2016; Bargaz et al., 2018).  

However, between all the fumigation, tillage, hilling, and harvest events, it has been difficult for potato growers to ‘make room’ for the soil building, or regenerative agriculture, practices available to other growers. These practices include reduced- or no-tillage programs, seeding cover crops, and advanced residue management, etc., (Weil and Brady 2017), which do not always have a good fit in potato production systems.  However, new, soil health and quality building options are now available to innovative potato growers.   These new options include the PhycoTerra® microalgae product line

A tractor planting a potato crop on the prairies.

Heliae Development’s  field trial work directly addresses the biological nature of high-performance soils using PhycoTerra®. The PhycoTerra®  conventional and organic product line is a proven way to increase soil microbial activity that can have an immediate impact on your potato yield and soil health.  As expressed by Hills et al., (2018), improving the soil health and quality of your ground can help improve the short- and long-term productivity of your fields. 

PhycoTerra® can Improve Total and Marketable Potato Production Yield

Below are the results of a third party trial that we conducted in Idaho in 2018 where we tested the impact of PhycoTerra® on the yield of Russet/Burbank potatoes planted in a silt loam soil.  We compared two rates of PhycoTerra® to a grower standard control (UTC) using standard field measurements. Our application rates included 0.5 gallon/acre and 1 gallon/acre plots and both rates were applied at planting in-furrow using a fan type nozzle in early May.  Research plots were replicated for statistical purposes and October 2018 harvest data is presented in Figure 1. Our data shows that the application of PhycoTerra® helped improve total potato production yields by up to 10.2% and 15.7%, depending on the rate used. Moreover, our work shows a similar increase in marketable yield, relative to the grower standard control (UTC).  Thus, a small investment in your soil health and quality, via PhycoTerra®, can pay off in a big way at the end of the season with improved potato yield and crop quality!

Partner With the Leader in Sustainable and Regenerative Soil Solutions

Our research at Heliae® Agriculture has led to the creation of a quality microalgae product, a variety of sustainable and regenerative soil solutions that can have an immediate impact on your soil microbiome and the performance of your potato crop. To learn more about our Soil Microbe Food, PhycoTerra®, and how it can improve the soil and potato production yields on your farm. contact our team.

Figure 1 – The application of PhycoTerra® helped improve both the total and marketable yield of Russet/Burbank potatoes in a 2018 trial, relative to the grower standard (UTC). Financial analysis indicates an ROI of >10:1, depending on the rate used and received carton price. 

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