Effect of Incrementing Nitrogen Application on Sucrose Yield of Sugarbeet
- Frank N. Anderson and
- Gary A. Peterson
Nitrogen fertilization of sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) usually increases root yields but decreases sucrose concentration. Therefore, management strategies must aim at an optimization of both that leads to maximum sucrose yield and not root yield. This study explored the value of applying N in increments to increase sucrose production and decrease top growth and impurities of the sugarbeet crop. The soil was depleted of N by cropping with corn (Zea mays L.) each year prior to the sugarbeet production year. Total N rates from 30 to 300 kg ha−1 N were applied in increments of 30,60, and 90 kg ha−1 over a time span of 16 wk each year of the experiment for 3 yr on a Tripp very fine sandy loam (coarse-silty, mixed, mesic Typic Haplustoll). A series of hail storms in the second year of the experiment caused the N requirement to be higher for that year, as N in the leaves removed by the hail did not recycle. The first and third years demonstrated a normal pattern of greater top growth, lower sucrose concentration, and lower purity as N rates increased. Optimum N rates were 50 kg ha−1 higher for root yields than for maximum sucrose production. Delaying N supply by incrementing fertilizer applications favored root development and sucrose production but did not affect top growth.
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