Submitted to: Plant and Soil
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 9, 2004
Publication Date: June 1, 2005
Citation: Lehrsch, G.A., Lentz, R.D., Kincaid, D.C. 2005. Polymer and sprinkler droplet energy effects on sugar beet emergence, soil penetration resistance, and aggregate stability. Plant and Soil. 273:1-13. Interpretive Summary: Crusting may be controlled if synthetic, organic polymers are sprayed onto the soil surface above newly planted sugarbeet. The dilute polymer solutions may strengthen or stabilize surface aggregates, small naturally occurring cluster of sand, silt, and clay, thereby preventing their breakdown when struck by raindrops or sprinkler droplets. The polymer we studied was Nalcolyte 8102¿, a mildly acidic, low molecular weight, cationic organic liquid. We applied diluted solutions of it to the surface of Portneuf silt loam, then measured sugarbeet seeding emergence, aggregate stability, and soil penetration resistance (PR). In the laboratory, 1.1 Mg 8102 a.i./ha of wetted area increased emergence 2.5-fold (from 32% to 80%) and lowered PR 3.5-fold (from 241 kPA to 70 kPA), compared with the controls. In the field, both 0.7 and 1.1 Mg/ha increased emergence 20 to 22% and increased surface soil aggregate stability, compared to controls. Nalcolyte 8102¿ may prove to be both a practical and effective anticrustant that may increase a sugarbeet grower's income by $200/ha ($80/acre).
Technical Abstract: Polymers in water applied to soil surfaces may increase aggregate stability and reduce aggregate slaking, thus minimizing crusting and increasing sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) emergence. In both laboratory and field studies, we evaluated the effects of a surface-applied, cationic organic polymer, Nalcolyte 8102', on sugarbeet emergence, soil penetration resistance (PR), and aggregate stability of two sprinkler irrigated, crust-prone silt loams. In the laboratory, four treatments were studied: 1.1 Mg active ingredient (a.i.)/ha applied in 74,000 L of solution/ha of wetted area, 5.4 Mg a.i./ha applied in both 50,000 and 105,000 L/ha, and untreated water at 49,000 L/ha as a control. Later, at three different field sites, 0.7 and 1.1 Mg 8102 a.i./ha, each applied in 74,000 L/ha, were sprayed at planting onto two soils above sugarbeet planted to stand. In the laboratory, 1.1 Mg/ha increased emergence 2.5-fold (32% to 80%) and lowered PR 3.5-fold (241 kPa to 70 kPa), compared with the controls. In the field, both 0.7 and 1.1 Mg/ha increased emergence 20 to 22% and increased aggregate stability after treatment by 10 to 43%, compared with the controls.