Potato Plant Nutrition For Growers
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Calcium Accumulation in Units/Acre in Relation to Yield

Tons/Ac 15 dae 30 dae 45 dae 60 dae 75 dae 90 dae 105 dae 120 dae
25 2.2 13 39 39 40 40 37 36
30 2.7 15 46 47 48 48 45 43
35 3.1 18 54 55 56 56 52 50
40 3.6 20 62 63 63 64 60 57

Note that almost NO calcium is translocated back the tubers. Calcium uptake is restricted to the growing tip of young roots. Once the outer cells of a root hair suberize, or root growth ceases, plants no longer take up Ca efficiently. Calcium uptake is closely correlated with K uptake, however, roots can assimilate K longer than Ca. Therefore, Ca should be applied in high amounts before high amounts of K.

The golden rule in understanding calcium management in potatoes is that the reason potatoes bulk quickly is due to the limited amount of calcium in the cell wall. One ton of vine will contain up to 1.53 lbs of actual calcium, whereas one ton of tubers contains only ¼ lb of actual calcium (ratio of 6:1).

Calcium Facts

  • Calcium uptake is suppressed by; NH4, Mg, K and then Na, in decreasing order
  • Ammonium can suppress Ca, while nitrate can increase calcium by supplying anions (negative charge) and triggering the root to excrete organic acids (especially important in high pH soils)
  • Ca:Mg ratio in the foliage is 2:1 and in the tuber 1:2
  • Calcium & Boron are synergistic!
  • Nitrate N is an anion for increased cation (Ca) uptake. Root uptake of nitrate also stimulates the production of organic acids for Ca uptake. Ammonia (a cation) can suppress Ca uptake. (CAN17 verses CN9?)

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