A simulation study to quantify the effect of sidedress fertilisation on N leaching and potato yield

P.A.J. van Oort*, B. Maestrini, A.A. Pronk, H. Vaessen, F.K. van Evert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Sidedress or split nitrogen application systems, in which nitrogen (N) is applied in two or more splits, have been proposed as an alternative to the conventional strategy of applying all fertiliser at once before planting. In theory, sidedress could reduce N leaching losses during early growth, leading to greater N availability later on in the growing season and finally higher yields. So far, few experimental studies have shown higher yields in sidedress systems compared to the single N strategy. We present an in-silico experiment comparing side-by-side the sidedress and conventional (single N application) strategies for 38 years of potato cultivation on 2 representative soils and for 3 cultivars in the Netherlands. Simulation results obtained with the Tipstar potato crop growth model show that — given the same total nitrogen input — the two systems give the same yields (thus not increasing risk) in most years (92–100% of years), while in 0–8% of years, simulated sidedress yields are substantially (> 5 ton/ha) higher in sidedress systems and leaching losses are same or lower with sidedress. Our simulations show that the sidedress strategy is more likely to be beneficial on sandy soils, for late maturing cultivars and in growing seasons with an extremely wet period in the 2 months after planting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109425
JournalField Crops Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2024


  • Crop growth model
  • Nitrogen fertiliser
  • Sidedress nitrogen
  • Split nitrogen
  • Tipstar


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