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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sugarbeet Research » Research » Research Project #444693

Research Project: SSBRI Integrating Cover Crops into High Plain and Intermountain West Sugar Beets for Management of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds

Location: Sugarbeet Research

Project Number: 3060-21000-045-012-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Dec 30, 2024

(1) Determine which corn hybrids and winter cereal crop planting methods will allow the establishment of a winter cereal cover crop prior to the spring planting of high-value specialty and minor use crops; and (2) Evaluate what impact winter cereal cover crops, following corn, have on the subsequent establishment of sugar beet.

For Objective 1, five corn hybrids of different maturity classes will be planted. Hybrids will range in maturity from silage corn, 75 day, 85 day, 95 day, and 115 day field corn. Three cover crop treatments will be applied within each whole-plot: (1) an inter-seeded cover crop, (2) cover crop seeded after corn harvest, and (3) a control with no cover crop seeded. Corn hybrids grown for grain will be harvested as soon as possible after grain maturity and a cover crop will be drilled into 1/3 of plot ground with five unique cover crop planting dates corresponding to the unique harvest dates of each corn hybrid. Cover crop planting will occur within seven days of corn harvest. For Objective 2, above-ground biomass will be taken from each split-split plot using a one m2 quadrat and separated into cover crop and weed biomass to assess the ability of the cover crop treatment to suppress weed emergence prior to planting sugar beet. To assess what benefit cover crops have on weed management, one m2 quadrat weed density assessments by species will be made one and two months after planting of sugar beet to assess the benefit of different fall planting dates and seeding methods on weed suppression. Sugar beet will be harvested mechanically. A tare sample will be taken from each plot to calculate sugar yield. Root samples will be assessed for sugar concentration and quality analysis.