Published online: Mar 31, 2009
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They have created the potato calculator, a decision-support website that allows growers to optimize nitrogen and water use as well as predict yield and maturity dates.

The calculator considers application schedules for nitrogen and water, highlighting deficits or unnecessary surpluses as well as resulting yield and is helping to take the guess work out of crop management.

Plant & Food Research business unit CropLogic General Manager Peter Roborgh told the seventh World Potato Congress in New Zealand last week that the calculator has been extensively tested and now is being marketed. He says the calculator has received an excellent response from growers and processors alike.

"Growers appreciate accurate input into optimal application schedules for fertilizer and water as well as yield prediction," he says. "Processors appreciate knowledge of crop size and the harvest dates for optimum quality and it helps with their planning in the factories."

Roborgh says the calculator helps to satisfy mounting consumer expectations their food is grown in an environmentally accountable and sustainable way. Its accuracy in optimizing production significantly reduces the potential for over-use of water and fertilizer.

The software underlying the calculator was developed by scientists at Plant & Food Research and it contains a simulation model based on a day-by-day understanding of how a potato crop grows and uses up soil supplies of water and nitrogen in response to daily local weather and other unique local factors.

It guides the application of nitrogen and water to meet the optimal requirements of the crop while reducing the risk of nitrogen leaching.
Details about the system can be found at