One of the challenges of white potato production, as with any crop, is the efficient management of nitrogen
(N) fertilizer. Excessive N fertilizer applied at or before tuberization can extend the vegetative growth period and delay tuber development, resulting in a lower tuber yield. However, too much N applied later in the season can delay maturity of the tubers, reducing
yield and adversely affecting tuber quality and skin set. Conversely, under-application of N at any point in the season can result in lower tuber yields and reduced profits. Environmental considerations must also be taken into account in N fertilizer management. Nitrogen
is a mobile nutrient in the soil and any excess N has the potential to move off-site via leaching or surface runoff. This is particularly true on the coarse-textured, low-organic matter soils common to the Eastern Shore, the premier potato-producing region in Virginia. These factors make the appropriate N rate and N application timing critical for successful white potato production.