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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving Nutrient Utilization in Western Irrigated Crop Production Systems

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Title: Effects of tillage system and nitrogen supply on sugarbeet production

Authors
item Tarkalson, David
item Bjorneberg, David
item Moore, A. -

Submitted to: Journal of Sugar Beet Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 5, 2012
Publication Date: July 1, 2012
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/57069
Citation: Tarkalson, D.D., Bjorneberg, D.L., Moore, A. 2012. Effects of tillage system and nitrogen supply on sugarbeet production. Journal of Sugar Beet Research. 49:79-102.

Interpretive Summary: The sugarbeet industry in Idaho is interested in strip tillage primarily due to the potential savings in tillage costs. This study was conducted to evaluate the use of strip tillage in Idaho compared to conventional tillage practices and to evaluate nitrogen requirements of sugarbeet under strip tillage and conventional tillage. The effect of tillage method (strip tillage, moldboard plow system, and chisel plow system) and nitrogen supply on sugarbeet production factors were investigated in Kimberly, ID from 2008 to 2010. Root and sucrose yields were the same under all three tillage practices. However, estimated tillage costs for strip tillage were from 53 percent to 76 percent lower than other tillage systems tested. The nitrogen requirements at the economic optimum N supply ranged from 2.4 to 3.0 kg per Mg roots in 2008 and 2.5 to 2.8 kg per Mg roots in 2010 over the range of nitrogen prices. Strip tillage can be used to obtain yields comparable to other common tillage practices and decrease tillage costs. Nitrogen requirements could be reduced on heavier textured soils compared to past recommendations in the Pacific Northwest. However, adjusting N requirements based on sugarbeet production and quality history, soil type, and soil residual N should be evaluated.

Technical Abstract: The sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) industry in Idaho is interested in strip tillage (ST) primarily due to the potential savings in tillage costs. This study was conducted to evaluate the use of strip tillage in Idaho compared to conventional tillage practices and to evaluate N requirements of sugarbeet under ST and conventional tillage. The effect of tillage method (strip tillage, moldboard plow system [MP], and chisel plow system [CP]) and N supply (5 levels) on sugarbeet production factors were investigated in Kimberly, ID from 2008 to 2010 on a Portneuf silt loam with barley as the previous crop. Root and estimated recoverable sucrose (ERS) yields were the same under all three tillage practices. However, estimated tillage costs for ST were from 53 percent to 76 percent lower than other tillage systems tested. The CP treatment had significantly lower harvest plant population compared to ST and MP, likely because residue inhibited seed-soil contact. In 2008 and 2010, a significant quadratic relationship was observed between N supply and root and ERS yield. During 2008 and 2010, yields at the economic optimum N supply (EONS) ranged from 73.6 to 79.9 Mg roots per ha and 11,054 to 11,415 kg ERS per ha across N prices ranging from $0.44 to $2.20 per kg N. During 2008 and 2010, nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) at the EONS ranged from 50.1 to 67.9 kg sucrose per kg N supply over all N prices. The N requirements at the EONS ranged from 2.4 to 3.0 kg per Mg in 2008 and 2.5 to 2.8 kg per Mg in 2010 over the range of N prices. Strip tillage can be used to obtain yields comparable to other common tillage practices and decrease tillage costs. Nitrogen requirements could be reduced on heavier textured soils compared to past recommendations in the Pacific Northwest. However, adjusting N requirements based on sugarbeet production and quality history, soil type, and soil residual N should be evaluated.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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