Cultivar-dependent differences in tuber growth cause increased soil resistance in potato fields

Skilleter, Patrick and Nelson, David and Dodd, Ian C. (2023) Cultivar-dependent differences in tuber growth cause increased soil resistance in potato fields. Frontiers in Plant Science, 14: 1095790. ISSN 1664-462X

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Since soil compaction of potato fields delays shoot emergence and decreases total yield, the causes and effects of this compaction need to be better understood. In a controlled environment trial with young (before tuber initiation) plants, roots of cv. Inca Bella (a phureja group cultivar) were more sensitive to increased soil resistance (3.0 MPa) than cv. Maris Piper (a tuberosum group cultivar). Such variation was hypothesized to cause yield differences in two field trials, in which compaction treatments were applied after tuber planting. Trial 1 increased initial soil resistance from 0.15 MPa to 0.3 MPa. By the end of the growing season, soil resistance increased three-fold in the upper 20 cm of the soil, but resistance in Maris Piper plots was up to twice that of Inca Bella plots. Maris Piper yield was 60% higher than Inca Bella and independent of soil compaction treatment, whilst compacted soil reduced Inca Bella yield by 30%. Trial 2 increased initial soil resistance from 0.2 MPa to 1.0 MPa. Soil resistance in the compacted treatments increased to similar, cultivar-dependent resistances as trial 1. Maris Piper yield was 12% higher than Inca Bella, but cultivar variation in yield response to compacted soil did not occur. Soil water content, root growth and tuber growth were measured to determine whether these factors could explain cultivar differences in soil resistance. Soil water content was similar between cultivars, thus did not cause soil resistance to vary between cultivars. Root density was insufficient to cause observed increases soil resistance. Finally, differences in soil resistance between cultivars became significant during tuber initiation, and became more pronounced until harvest. Increased tuber biomass volume (yield) of Maris Piper increased estimated mean soil density (and thus soil resistance) more than Inca Bella. This increase seems to depend on initial compaction, as soil resistance did not significantly increase in uncompacted soil. While increased soil resistance caused cultivar-dependent restriction of root density of young plants that was consistent with cultivar variation in yield, tuber growth likely caused cultivar-dependent increases in soil resistance in field trials, which may have further limited Inca Bella yield.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Frontiers in Plant Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? leaf areasoil moisturesoil compactionroot growthtuber yieldplant science ??
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Deposited On:
20 Jul 2023 15:10
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 23:56