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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Strip Tillage on Sprinkler Irrigated Sugar Beets

Authors
item Evans, Robert
item Iversen, William
item Stevens, William

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2006
Publication Date: July 9, 2006
Citation: Evans, R.G., Iversen, W.M., Stevens, W.B. 2006. Strip tillage on sprinkler irrigated sugar beets. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Paper 061030. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary: The results of the first 2 years of a four year strip tillage study on sprinkler irrigated sugarbeets (Beta vulgaris L.) are presented. The project was initiated in fall 2003 near Sidney, Montana for sugarbeets to be grown in 2004. Treatments were compared to conventional grower practices in fifty six 15 m X 25 m (48 ft by 80 ft) side-by-side plots. Both treatments were flat planted with no ridges or beds. All tillage and fertilization was done in the fall after removal of a malt barley crop. Thirty centimeter (12 inch) wide strips were tilled directly into the straw residues using straight and paired fluted coulters and a modified parabolic ripping shank followed by a crows-foot packer wheel. Dry fertilizer was shanked in about 8 cm (3 in.) below and to the side of the future seed placement. Beets were planted on 60 cm (24 in.) rows in the spring. Operation of the strip tiller required about 25 tractor horsepower per row, but substantial fuel savings are realized with this system by greatly reducing the number of tractor field passes. In 2004, there were no significant differences in yields or sugar production between the two tillage treatments; however, in 2005 the strip tilled plots produced about 17% greater yields (tonnage and sugar). This benefit was primarily due to the standing straw stubble in the strip tilled plots that protected sugarbeet seedlings from blowing soil during a spring wind storm that severely damaged seedlings in the conventionally tilled plots where there was no crop residue. Percent sucrose in the beets was consistently higher in the strip tilled plots.

Technical Abstract: The results of the first 2 years of a four year strip tillage study on sprinkler irrigated sugarbeets (Beta vulgaris L.) are presented. The project was initiated in fall 2003 near Sidney, Montana for sugarbeets to be grown in 2004. Treatments were compared to conventional grower practices in fifty six 15 m X 25 m (48 ft by 80 ft) side-by-side plots. Both treatments were flat planted with no ridges or beds. All tillage and fertilization was done in the fall after removal of a malt barley crop. Thirty centimeter (12 inch) wide strips were tilled directly into the straw residues using straight and paired fluted coulters and a modified parabolic ripping shank followed by a crows-foot packer wheel. Dry fertilizer was shanked in about 8 cm (3 in.) below and to the side of the future seed placement. Beets were planted on 60 cm (24 in.) rows in the spring. Operation of the strip tiller required about 25 tractor horsepower per row, but substantial fuel savings are realized with this system by greatly reducing the number of tractor field passes. In 2004, there were no significant differences in yields or sugar production between the two tillage treatments; however, in 2005 the strip tilled plots produced about 17% greater yields (tonnage and sugar). This benefit was primarily due to the standing straw stubble in the strip tilled plots that protected sugarbeet seedlings from blowing soil during a spring wind storm that severely damaged seedlings in the conventionally tilled plots where there was no crop residue. Percent sucrose in the beets was consistently higher in the strip tilled plots.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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