Role of Magnesium in Potato Production

Magnesium plays a central role in photosynthesis, as it is present in the centre of each chlorophyll molecule. It is also involved in various key steps of sugar and protein production as well as the transport of sugars in the form of sucrose from the leaves to the tubers.

Magnesium and relative yield

Severe magnesium deficiency can reduce yields by up to 15%. Regular use of magnesium on an annual basis has provided yield increases of 1 to 10% in trials. Adequate magnesium is needed during tuber bulking. If dry soil conditions restrict uptake, then foliar sprays can be very effective.

Magnesium and yield

Trials in UK also show the effect magnesium has on yield.

Magnesium and specific gravity

Low levels of magnesium will reduce the starch content of tubers and protein levels that affect the taste of the cooked potato. Trials in Australia confirm the positive benefits of magnesium on specific gravity.

Magnesium and dry matter

Magnesium also benefits tuber dry matter, as trials in Holland show.

Magnesium and tuber discolouration

Low magnesium levels can increase susceptibility to enzymatic discolouration, as studies in Katahdin (USA) show.

General guidelines for magnesium application

Uptake of magnesium is dependent upon the cation exchange capacity of the soil and its balance with the other cations, especially potassium. High concentrations of potassium in the soil can induce magnesium deficiency. In such cases, foliar applications of magnesium are beneficial.

Magnesium at potato growth stages
Planting For plant development
Tuber initiation Bigger tubers
Bulking Maintain tuber growth

Role of Nutrients

Read about the role of other nutrients in potato production:

Nitrogen

Phosphorus

Potassium

Calcium

Magnesium

Sulphur

Boron

Copper

Iron

Manganese

Molybdenum

Zinc

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