Advances in Variable Rate Technology Application in Potato in The Netherlands

Corné Kempenaar*, Thomas Been, Johan Booij, Frits van Evert, Jean Marie Michielsen, Corné Kocks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Precision agriculture is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter- and intra-field variability in crops. In this paper, we focus on responding to intra-field variability in potato crops and analyse variable rate applications (VRAs). We made an overview of potential VRAs in potato crop management in The Netherlands. We identified 13 potential VRAs in potato, ranging from soil tillage to planting to crop care to selective harvest. We ranked them on availability of ‘proof of concept’ and on-farm test results. For five VRAs, we found test results allowing to make a cost-benefit assessment. These five VRAs were as follows: planting, soil herbicide weed control, N side dress, late blight control and haulm killing. They use one of two types of spatial data: soil maps or biomass index maps. Data on costs and savings of the VRAs showed that the investments in VRAs will pay off under practical conditions in The Netherlands. Savings on pesticide use and N-fertilizer use with the VRAs were on average about 25%, which benefits the environment too. We foresee a slow but gradual adoption of VRAs in potato production. More VRAs will become available given ongoing R&D. The perspectives of VRAs in potatoes are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295–305
JournalPotato Research
Issue number3-4
Early online date19 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2018


  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Decision support
  • Information technology
  • Precision agriculture
  • Smart farming


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