California Crop Fertilization Guidelines

UC Davis
A collaboration between CDFA, FREP and UC Davis

Potato Nitrogen Uptake and Partitioning

The Fertilization guidelines can also be found on the UC Davis Nutrient Management website .

Seasonal N Uptake

Season N Uptake Curve Graph

Nitrogen uptake curve of Russett Burbank potatoes grown in Paterson, WA. The tuber yield was 563 cwt/acre [4].

Nitrogen Partitioning

Nitrogen partitioning pie chart

Estimated N in vines and tubers at vine kill. Data from a trial with Classic Russett and Russett Norkotah in Tulelake. The average total yield was 506 cwt/acre [7]. Nitrogen partitioning to potato vines and tubers depends on fertilization. In a well-fertilized crop about 20-30% of the total N is found in the vine. Under excessive fertilizer over half of the total N may be in the vine, and under deficient fertilization it can be as low as 10% [4,7].

Nitrogen Removed at Harvest

Nitrogen removed with potato tubers. The overall average is weighted for the number of observations in each trial. More information can be found here [2].

Location Years Removal (lbs N/ton fresh weight) Source
    Mean Range  
Tulelake, CA 2012 8.02 6.83 - 9.22 [8]
Washington 1980-81 5.81 4.18 - 8.33 [4]
Minnesota 1994-95 5.94 4.08 - 6.91 [7]
Wisconsin 2000-02 6.37 5.19 - 8.14 [1]
Various   6.16 4.61 - 7.1 [5]
Various   6.05   [6]
Weighted Average   6.24 4.08 - 9.22  



  1. Curless, M.A., Kelling, K.A., Speth, P.E., 2004. Nitrogen and phosphorus availability from liquid dairy manure to potatoes. American Journal of Potato Research 82, 287-297.
  2. Geisseler, D., 2016. Nitrogen concentrations in harvested plant parts -A literature overview. Report to the Kings River Watershed Coalition.
  3. Howard, F.D., MacGillivray, J.H., Yamaguchi, M., 1962. Nutrient composition of fresh California-grown vegetables. California Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin No. 788, California Department of Agriculture.
  4. Lauer, D.A., 1985. Nitrogen uptake patterns of potatoes with high-frequency sprinkler-applied N fertilizer. Agronomy Journal 77, 193-197.
  5. United States Department of Agriculture Food Composition Database.
  6. United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Crop Nutrient Tool.
  7. Waddell, J. T., Gupta, S.C., Moncrief, J.F., Rosen, C.J., Steele, D.D., 1999. Irrigation and nitrogen management effects on potato yield, tuber quality, and nitrogen uptake. Agronomy Journal 91, 991–997.
  8. Wilson, R., Kirby, D., Culp, D., Nicholson K., 2012. Classic Russet and Russet Norkotah potato yield and quality response to nitrogen fertilization. Intermountain Research & Extension Center Research Report 151.