|WALIA, MANINDER - University Of Minnesota
|WELLS, M - University Of Minnesota
|Gesch, Russell - Russ
Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Sugar beet is an important crop in Minnesota. It is generally planted in late April and harvested around September and October. After sugar beet harvest, the soil is left bare until the following spring when the next summer crop in rotation is planted. This leaves the soil vulnerable to erosion, accelerates the loss of important nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous through leaching and runoff, and provides an opportunity for weeds to proliferate and compete with the next season’s crop. Following sugar beet with a winter annual cover crop like camelina can prevent soil erosion and potentially suppress early summer weeds in addition to being harvested as an extra cash crop. During the 2017 growing season, an on-farm experiment was conducted in southern Minnesota to determine whether winter camelina planted immediately after sugar beet harvest would suppress the growth of weeds. The first year’s results showed that using camelina as a cover after sugar beet reduced weed cover by 3.5-fold compared to bare soil (i.e., fallow) with no herbicide applied, while camelina in combination with herbicide (i.e., metalochlor) reduced weed cover by 8.8-fold. Using herbicide alone to control weeds in fallow plots reduced weed cover by slightly more than 2-fold, and it was not statistically different than simply using camelina as a cover crop. These initial results demonstrate that winter camelina is effective at controlling early season weeds and can increase economic returns by reducing herbicide use while providing an additional cash crop to farmers.