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Zone tillage in sugar beets-2010

Regitnig, P.. 2010.

Abstract

In an experiment evaluating nitrogen rates and forms, there were no significant differences in yield and quality parameters between equivalent rates of urea and Environmentally Smart Nitrogen (ESN). As nitrogen fertilizer rates increased there was a downward trend for extractable sugar per tonne and an upward trend for root yield that was statistically significant for some comparisons. Amino nitrogen and sodium levels in sugar beets were significantly increased and leaf canopy colour was significantly greener with increasing nitrogen fertilizer rates. When the same rate of nitrogen was applied, there was no significant difference in quality parameters when zone tillage was compared to a reduced residue tillage treatment; however, reduced residue did result in significantly higher root yield than the same rate of urea applied in a zone tillage treatment. Additional urea applied in another zone tillage treatment did not mitigate the yield reduction. In two experiments examining nitrogen rates with and without inter-row cultivation, significant increases in plant vigour and root yield occurred with applied fertilizer nitrogen. Inter-row cultivation did not affect these factors. Observations of reduced plant vigour and root yield with zone tillage in previous Alberta trials were not explained by monitoring inter-row cultivation in these trials. In a fourth experiment investigating the effect of phosphorus rates and placement, treatments had no effect on root yield or extractable sugar per tonne. A spring in-furrow rate of 12 lbs P2O5/acre resulted in significant sugar beet stand reduction. Saturated spring soil conditions negatively impacted early season plant development in this trial.