Submitted to: The Sugarbeet Grower
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/11/2006
Publication Date: 2/1/2006
Citation: Evans, R.G., Iversen, W.M., Stevens, W.B. 2006. Strip-till research on beets. The Sugarbeet Grower. 45(2):16-19.
Technical Abstract: A four year strip tillage study on sprinkler irrigated sugarbeets was initiated in fall 2003 at Sidney, Montana. Treatments were compared to conventional grower practices in 50 ft by 80 ft (15 m X 25 m) side-by side plots with four replications in a 2-year barley sugarbeet rotation. Because they were sprinkler irrigated, both treatments were flat planted with no ridges or beds. All tillage and fertilizations was done in the fall after removal of a malt barley crop. Beets were planted on 24 inch (60 cm) rows in the spring. Twelve inch (30 cm) wide strips are tilled directly into the straw residues using straight and fluted disks and a modified ripping shank followed by a crows-foot packer wheel. Dry fertilizer is shanked in about 2 inches (5 cm) below and to the side of the future seed placement. Operation of the strip tiller requires about 25 tractor horsepower per row. Conventional tillage included broadcast dry fertilizer at the same rate as strip tilled, chisel plowing, leveling, and mulching. In 2004, there were no significant differences in yields or sugar production between the two set of treatments, however, in 2005 the strip tilled plots produced about 17% greater yields (tons and sugar), primarily to wind erosion protection provides by the standing straw stubble in the spring that severely damaged the conventionally tilled plots. Sugar content in the beets was consistently higher in the strip tilled plots.