Polyolefin-coated fertilizers are slow-release fertilizers coated with thermoplastic resins that have a temperature-dependent nutrient release pattern. A field study was conducted on a Hubbard loamy sand during 1997 and 1998 at Becker, Minn., to evaluate the effect of polyolefin-coated urea (POCU) fertilizers (Meister, Chisso Co., Japan) on yield and quality of irrigated `Russet Burbank' potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.). The coated fertilizers were POCU-50 and POCU-70, which release 80% of their N in 50 and 70 days, respectively, at 25 °C, and a 1 POCU-50: 1POCU-70 mixture. The study compared three soluble urea treatments (N at 0, 140, and 280 kg·ha-1) split-applied at planting, emergence, and hilling vs. the same N rates of coated urea fertilizers applied in a band at planting. In 1997, a season characterized by high leaching, total and large tuber (>168 g) yields were higher with coated urea sources than soluble urea at equivalent N rate, but the N sources gave similar yields in 1998 when leaching was minimal. In both years, doubling the rate of N as soluble or coated urea from 140 to 280 kg·ha-1 had no effect on total yield, but increased the marketable yield (tuber size). Yields were higher in 1998 compared to 1997 due to poorer tuber set in 1997. However, the percentage of large tubers was higher in 1997. Specific gravity increased slightly with N rate but did not differ with N source at equivalent N rate. Hollow heart incidence was similar among all treatments in 1997, but it increased with N rate and was similar among N sources in 1998.
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