Using crop reflectance to determine sidedress N rate in potato saves N and maintains yield

F.K. van Evert, R. Booij, J.N. Jukema, H.F.M. ten Berge, D. Uenk, E.J.J. Meurs, W.C.A. van Geel, K.H. Wijnholds, J.J. Slabbekoorn

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42 Citations (Scopus)


A low basal N application combined with in-season adjustment of the sidedressNrate has been proposed as a means to saveN in growing potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). We hypothesize that a measurement of canopy reflectance provides information which can be used to adjust sidedressNrate. The objective of our work was to develop and test a canopy reflectance-based Nsidedress system for potato in humid climates. In four years of experiments with ware potato on a sandy soil it was determined that the reflectance index WDVI correlates well with N uptake, that sidedressN should be applied at around the time of canopy closing, and that the sidedressNrate should be calculated as the difference between a (fixed) desired N uptake and a reflectance-based measurement of N uptake. The calculated N saving in these experiments was between 10 and 109 (average 56) kg N ha-1. The reflectance-based Nsidedress system was tested at an additional two locations, with ware potatoes on a loamy soil and with starch potatoes on a sandy soil, in two further years of experiments. N saving in these experiments was between 8 and 88 (average 44) kg N ha-1. In both sets of experiments, yields with the sidedress system were generally at the same level as yields obtained with recommended Nrates (basal N only). We conclude that the reflectance-based sidedressN system allows saving of N while maintaining yield
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-67
JournalEuropean Journal of Agronomy
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • nitrogen status
  • fertilizer nitrogen
  • light reflectance
  • chlorophyll meter
  • vegetation index
  • management
  • soil
  • sensor
  • corn
  • recommendations


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