Crop to chip: monitoring optimized fertilizer for potatoes from field to store
The quality characteristics of stored potatoes from a French fertilizer trial with Polysulphate are being monitored to assess the ongoing benefits of balanced nutrition of the crop in the field to improved tuber quality over time.
Optimizing fertilizer strategy
The potato field trial, in Amiens in northern France, compared the performance of our Polysulphate and PotashpluS fertilizers with other potassium fertilizers. The potato crop was harvested in October 2020. Samples of each treatment (control without Potash, 300 units of K2O with KCl, same amount with Polysulphate, with PotashpluS and with SOP) went into store and were weighed regularly to measure any loss.
However, weight is not the only measurement that matters for potatoes. It’s dry matter that counts as this directly influences oil absorption rate in fried products and the texture of cooked potatoes. It’s also an indicator of risk of bruising, with higher dry matter often meaning more damage.
French fries for science
Three months on, ICL Agronomists in France, Frederic Carnec and Matthieu De Villenau are performing food technology tests to assess the all-important dry matter in the samples from different fertilizer treatments. De Villenau used the hydrometer test, used extensively in the potato processing sector. This automatically and quickly measures each potato sample’s ‘weight in water’ and calculates the dry matter content, starch percentage, underwater weight and specific gravity.
Meanwhile Frederic Carnec chopped and fried French fries precisely, measuring the quality of the chips. The results so far are that Polysulphate and PotashpluS fertilizers have helped make potatoes of a better quality than alternative potassium nutrition products.
Fertilizer strategy from field to table
This kind of attention to supply chain detail and demands is an important part of our approach with Polysulphate fertilizer. The work of our agronomy teams shows that investing in our fertilizer products, made with the natural multi-nutrient mineral polyhalite, brings the farmer good returns on investment at harvest and, for a crop such as potato, while it is kept in storage.