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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Agricultural Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376739

Research Project: Ecologically-Sound Pest, Water and Soil Management Practices for Northern Great Plains Cropping Systems

Location: Agricultural Systems Research

Title: Phosphorus fertilization and enhanced efficiency products effects on sugarbeet

item KUSI, NANA - Virginia State University
item Stevens, William - Bart
item SINTIM, HENRY - University Of Georgia
item GARCIA, AXEL - University Of Minnesota
item MESBAH, ABDEL - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2021
Publication Date: 8/12/2021
Citation: Kusi, N.Y., Stevens, W.B., Sintim, H.Y., Garcia, A., Mesbah, A.O. 2021. Phosphorus fertilization and enhanced efficiency products effects on sugarbeet. Industrial Crops and Products. 171. Article 113887.

Interpretive Summary: Sugar beet is an important cash crop for farmers along the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana and its tributaries in northern Wyoming. Because the gross value of the sugar beet crop in this region ranges from roughly $1500 per acre, it is important for farmers to ensure that nutrient deficiencies do not limit yield potential. Phosphorus management can be particularly challenging because the region’s high-pH soils reduce phosphorus availability compared to areas with more neutral soil pH. Phosphorus availability can be enhanced by banding the fertilizer close to the crop row or even directly into the seed furrow during planting. Another potential solution is to utilize chemicals (e.g., Avail®, Verdesian Life Sciences, Cary, NC) that, are added to fertilizer to protect the phosphorus from soil reactions that reduce its availability to plants. ARS scientists in Sidney MT collaborated with University of Wyoming researchers to evaluate different approaches to manage phosphorus fertilizer in irrigated sugar beet production fields in Powell, WY and Sidney, MT with moderate soil test phosphorus levels. Placing a liquid phosphorus fertilizer with the seed at planting enhanced emergence in Wyoming but did not increase sucrose yield. In Montana, this practice caused seedling injury, probably because of increased salinity in the germination zone. Placing liquid phosphorus fertilizer in a band near the crop row was beneficial at both locations compared to a more conventional broadcast application of granulated phosphorus fertilizer. Adding the availability-enhancing chemical increased yield further when combined with banded fertilizer application in Wyoming but not in Montana. Results from the three-year study show that while conventional broadcast fertilizer application was effective, banding fertilizer near the crop row consistently produced better crop yield. Availability-enhancing products may be beneficial under some conditions.

Technical Abstract: A major cash crop in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming and the Yellowstone River valley of eastern Montana is Sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.). This growing area is characterized by alkaline and calcareous soil conditions that inhibit phosphorus (P) availability. This study evaluated the effects of different P fertilizer sources and rates on sugarbeet productivity in Montana and Wyoming. The P sources consisted of liquid ammonium polyphosphate (APP) and dry monoammonium phosphate (MAP) fertilizers applied with or without a P availability enhancer (Avail®). Also, a fifth fertilizer source treatment consisting of APP + Avail® + starter fertilizer was tested. The APP was banded at 5 cm beside and below the seeds, the starter fertilizer was seed-placed and the MAP was broadcast-incorporated to 5-cm depth. Five P application rates (0, 34, 67, 134, and 201 kg P2O5 ha-1) were tested in Montana, and seven rates (0, 34, 67, 134, 201, 269, and 336 kg P2O5 ha-1) in Wyoming. Results showed significant effects of fertilizer products and P application rates on the productivity and quality of sugarbeet. The starter fertilizer increased plant stands in Wyoming, which was due to lower temperature condition at planting. Avail® increased root yield when APP was applied in Powell, WY, but it had no effects when MAP was applied. There was no benefit from treatment with Avail® in Sidney, MT, regardless of fertilizer source. Phosphorus application rates had significant effects on root and sugar yields at both locations. The relationship between P application rate and root and sugar yield was linearly positive and failed to reach a plateau, despite the high P rates tested in this study. Such high P rates however, are not recommended in Wyoming and Montana because of the high economic and environmental cost associated with such large amounts.