Understanding yield variation in potato cultivation to move towards more sustainable potato production.

Project: PhD

Project Details


The average yield gap, i.e. the difference between actual and potential yield, of ware and starch potatoes in the Netherlands is estimated respectively at 29 and 40 %. Yield variability is large with ranges reported from 30 to 100 t ha-1. Hence, there is potential to increase potato production, reduce environmental impact and increase cost-benefit ratios for farmers. This research aims at identifying key yield defining, limiting and reducing factors that explain yield variability at three different spatial scales. With availability of knowledge intensive machinery, farmers recently started to actively collect and use data. In addition, new data collection methods, such as remote sensing, and analysis approaches have become available to improve understanding and providing decision support to farmers. The first research question of this research aims at identifying spatiotemporal yield variation among farms, among fields within farms and within fields, using historical yield data and geospatial statistical techniques. Question 2 will assess the yield response to P and K fertilizer application on top of farmers’ nutrient application rates. The aims of question 3 and 4 are to identify key factors that can explain yield variability, respectively among farms and among fields within farms, using various statistical approaches. Research question 5 focusses on the relation between within field yield variability and topography as a driver for differences in soil moisture, using farmer measured spatial yield data and publicly available geospatial data. Together, the answers to these questions provide up-to-date insight on factors explaining yield variability, which can be used to develop a decision-support system for farmers.
Effective start/end date15/01/19 → …


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