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P.E.I. potato crops benefit from eco-friendly fertilizer in new research study



CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — New P.E.I. analysis has discovered a extra environmentally pleasant solution to fertilize potatoes.

Steve Watts from Genesis Crop Techniques Inc. together with six farmers participated within the Dwelling Labs Atlantic venture to check out a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer, additionally referred to as enhanced effectivity nitrogen. They wished to determine essentially the most environment friendly means to make use of the product whereas decreasing the impact on the surroundings.

The consequence was a 30 per cent discount in greenhouse fuel emissions with the brand new software strategies and, though fertilizer prices stayed the identical, farmers used round 15 per cent much less fertilizer per acre with no impression on yield.

“Farmers like to think about themselves stewards of the land, so if I’m going to work with growers to attempt to enhance issues, actually we should be enthusiastic about the entire environmental impression to what we do,” stated Watts.


Watts and his crew have been testing Tremendous U, a urea-based nitrogen fertilizer that goes within the floor at or close to planting time. In contrast to older nitrogen fertilizer expertise, Tremendous U has a coating that makes it dissolve extra slowly so the potato vegetation get what they want on the proper time.

Steve Watts of Genesis Crop Systems Inc, left, and farmer Vernon Campbell take a moment to discuss their collaboration on a nitrogen fertilizer trial with Living Labs Atlantic at Campbell's farm March 27. - Alison Jenkins/SaltWire Network
Steve Watts of Genesis Crop Techniques Inc, left, and farmer Vernon Campbell take a second to debate their collaboration on a nitrogen fertilizer trial with Dwelling Labs Atlantic at Campbell’s farm March 27. – Alison Jenkins/SaltWire Community

Vernon Campbell of Mull Na Beinne Farms has been a part of the three-year venture since its begin in 2019. He in contrast potato vegetation to a potato manufacturing facility.

“The primary half of the plant’s life is vegetative – it’s placing up the manufacturing unit. Then the stability of the life, it’s reproductive, ie: it’s going into the tubers for the following technology and that’s when you actually need a bump of vitamins to offer for the following technology,” stated Campbell.

Because it’s not environment friendly or helpful to use fertilizer to potato fields mid-season, Tremendous U and different slow-release merchandise are thrilling choices.

“This is much better for greenhouse fuel and … there’s all the time been a priority about nitrates in our water and I feel it is a means of decreasing that danger,” stated Campbell.

In regards to the venture

Genesis Crop Techniques Inc. and Dwelling Labs Atlantic has managed to cut back greenhouse fuel emissions by 30 per cent with a brand new methodology of fertilizing potatoes.

Listed here are just a few quick info in regards to the venture:

  • They examined Tremendous U, a urea-based granule sprayed with a urease and/or nitrification inhibitor that synchronizes nitrate availability with the plant’s wants which reduces nitrate leaching.
  • Six farmers utilized between 50 and 70 per cent of what they normally would at planting to their take a look at plots.
  • Greenhouse fuel monitoring gear was put in and checked weekly or bi-weekly.
  • Plant petiole samples have been collected twice within the season to measure N03-N petiole focus.
  • Six 10-foot strips of potatoes have been hand-harvested, saved and evaluated for yield, high quality and financial worth.
  • Publish-harvest soil samples have been collected and examined for residual NO3-N.

Finest practices

Watts started Genesis Crop programs Inc. in 2012 to try to “do issues higher” when rising potatoes and through the years has labored with farmers to develop some finest administration practices.

Living Labs Atlantic works with farmers and researchers to develop more sustainable agricultural methods. - Alison Jenkins/SaltWire Network
Dwelling Labs Atlantic works with farmers and researchers to develop extra sustainable agricultural strategies. – Alison Jenkins/SaltWire Community

Partnering with Dwelling Labs – a gaggle of universities, authorities researchers and farmers – has allowed Watts to broaden that analysis.

“A key a part of any nitrogen fertilizer trial work we’ve completed within the final six or seven years is the capability to truly measure greenhouse fuel emissions off the sphere. I couldn’t do this on my own,” stated Watts.

Technicians from the P.E.I. division of agriculture got here out to the sphere plots to gather vials of fuel samples which have been then analyzed on the Dalhousie College College of Agriculture’s Burton Lab.

“The Dwelling Labs program, during the last 4 years allowed us to take that (fertilizer analysis) to the following degree the place we quantified it extra with the collaboration,” stated Watts.

Due to the rapport Watts has constructed with farmers earlier than and through his Dwelling Labs collaboration, the learnings are adopted into follow extra simply than they could be if the strategies have been developed in a separate facility.

And the proof is within the (potato) pudding.

“We’re assured sufficient within the outcomes that we’ve got translated that from trials to all of our potato acreage,” stated Campbell.

Alison Jenkins is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. She could be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @ReporterAlison.

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