Field Chlorophyll Measurements to Assess the Nitrogen Status of Potato Varieties

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Fruit and Vegetable Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

We report three N rate experiments conducted on a gravelly loam soil to assess the N status of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) using a Minolta SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter. Highly significant linear and quadratic trends were obtained for the regression of N rate on marketable tuber yields and SPAD readings. SPAD readings were taken at four times during the growing season and decreased as plants aged. Based on regression analysis, the early season SPAD readings, associated with N rates giving maximum marketable tuber yields, ranged from 49 to 56 units depending on year, variety, and location. Potato variety significantly affected SPAD values in eight of the 12 situations where readings were obtained. Precision in interpretation was improved when the highest N rates were considered “reference strips” to standardize the SPAD readings across varieties and growing seasons. Our results suggest that field SPAD readings can readily identify severe N deficiency in potatoes, have the potential to identify situations where supplementary sidedressed N would not be necessary, but would be of limited value for identifying situations of marginal N deficiency unless reference strips are used.

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