Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is running the plowdown challenge where potato growers on Prince Edward Island are being asked to guess the yield of a potato field, an Oct. 16 news release said.
The field has been growing using only nitrogen leftover from the previously harvested crop. It’s called the #AAFCPlowdownChallenge and the goal is to educate the agriculture industry on the benefits of factoring in the previous crops’ leftover nitrogen to apply fertilizer more efficiently in potato crops, the release said.
AAFC Science Coordinator Scott Anderson and his team planted the Mountain Gem potato variety on a field at the AAFC Harrington Research Farm. Growers are being encouraged to guess what the yield will be after harvest and grading later this fall. The field was planted with red clover last summer with a cover crop of barley and tillage radish planted last fall.
While they don’t expect farmers to stop using fertilizer altogether, they’re trying to demonstrate how much yield they can actually achieve by just using nutrients in the soil from a properly managed previous crop, the release noted.
“We could be on to something here. The crop is looking almost as good as a crop grown with traditional fertilizer. I’m looking forward to seeing the range of guesses from local farmers. I hope this will help our pursuit to use fertilizer most efficiently for the crop and for the environment,” Anderson said in the release.