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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effect of Time and Amount of Nitrogen Uptake on Sugarbeet Growth and Yield1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 73 No. 4, p. 665-671
    Received: Aug 4, 1980

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  1. J. N. Carter and
  2. D. J. Traveller2



Sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) root quality has been steadily decreasing since the early 1950's with increased use of N fertilizer. Since the extent of these decreases may be associated with the time and amount of N uptake, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of several rates and times of N fertilizer applications and N uptake by sugarbeets on seasonal growth rates, sucrose percentage and accumulation, dry matter production, and partitioning of the photosynthate.

Sugarbeets were grown under field conditions on a Portneuf silt loam soil (Durixerollic Calciorthids, coarsesilty, mixed, mesic) near Twin Falls, Idaho, in 1977, using four N rates, each applied preplant, mid-June, mid-July, and mid-August. Root yields, sucrose concentration and yield, dry matter production, leaf area index, and plant N uptake were determined from samples taken throughout the season. Adding N fertilizer above that needed for optimum plant growth or delaying N application until midseason caused a greater proportion of the photosynthate to be used for increased top growth at the expense of dry matter and sucrose accumulation in the roots. Sucrose accumulation was maximum from late July until early September; therefore, during this period, addition of N and N uptake by the plant caused the greatest decrease in sucrose accumulation and production at harvest. Increasing N levels decreased sucrose concentrations during the season and at harvest because of 1) increased moisture level of roots, and 2) dry matter produced and accumulated in the roots having a decreased sucrose concentration. The rate of accumulation of stored sucrose was reduced by midseason N application, but stored sucrose was not used for increased growth of beet tops. Excess and late N applications also increased impurities in the beet root, decreasing extractability of stored sucrose, which further decreased refined sucrose production. Early application of N fertilizer at optimum levels should maximize refined sucrose production.

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