ISSUE #388

388  - Crop Rotations for Profit


Choosing a crop rotation to maximize recoverable sugar per acre and per ton is no easy task. Shareholders must plan rotations several years ahead to maximize farm profitability. Beet crop rotation should include both grass and broadleaf crops.

Factors Affecting Crop Rotation Choice:

  • Cropping sequence and disease severity
  • Risk of herbicide carryover
  • Herbicide resistant weed management
  • Soil erosion threat with low crop residue rotations
  • Nitrogen carryover and deep soil profile accumulation
  • Labor and equipment requirements in the fall and spring
  • Crop allelopathic effects

American Crystal Sugar Company shareholders have grown twelve different crops in rotation with sugarbeets in recent years. Yield and quality of sugarbeets following the more common crops in rotation is given in Table 1.

Table 1: Effect of Preceding Crop on Sugarbeet Yield and Quality, 1995-1999 RRV Average

CropAcreageT/ASLM% SugarSugar/TSugar/A
Corn 9,052 20.5 1.37 17.3 318 6,519
Edible Beans 111,227 20.4 1.53 17.4 317 6,467
Potatoes 177,432 20.5 1.59 17.1 310 6,355
Oats 4,312 19.7 1.46 17.3 317 6,245
Wheat 1,288,911 19.6 1.50 17.3 316 6,194
Barley 392,783 19.3 1.47 17.5 320 6,176
Fallow 93,623 18.6 1.54 17.4 318 5,915
Soybeans 3,752 17.8 1.50 17.3 317 5,643

American Crystal Sugar Company Grower Practices Data Tells Us That:

  • Beets yield very poorly following soybeans
  • Yields after fallow are low during wet weather cycles
  • Recoverable sugar per acre is highest after corn, edible beans, and potatoes
  • Recoverable sugar per ton is distinctly lower following potatoes because precision nitrogen management may be difficult

Benefits of longer crop rotations have been very well documented. Three-year crop rotations for sugarbeets are acceptable. Four or five year rotations are definitely recommended.

Benefits of Longer Crop Rotations Include:

  • Lower incidence and severity of rhizoctonia root rot
  • Less Cercospora leaf spot
  • Reduction or elimination of allelopathic affects
  • Greater opportunity to refine N management programs

Contact your agriculturist for assistance with crop rotation decisions.

Grower Idea Contest Deadline Nears

The 2000 idea Contest entry deadline is December 1. Contact your agriculturist for entry forms and assistance entering the contest.

NDSU/U of MN Survey

It is extremely important the survey mailed to you in September by Dr. Alan Dexter be returned. Survey information is used to:

  • Plan grower educational seminars
  • Develop research projects focused on grower needs
  • Obtain section 18 registration of needed pesticides like Eminent
  • Support continued registration of products like Counter, Supertin and Lorsban (in 1999 and 2000 survey data was useful defending these registrations).

RE: These major sugarbeet meetings scheduled for 2000-2001 may be of interest. Mark your calendars with them today. 

EventDate Location 
So. MN Beet Sugar Coop. Annual Mtg.  December 4, 2000  Willmar Holiday Inn Conf. Center 
Minn-Dak Farmers Coop Annual Mtg.  December 5, 2000  Fargo Holiday Inn 
Amercian Crystal Sugar Co. Annual Mtg.  December 7, 2000  Fargo Holiday Inn 
RRV Sugarbeet Growers Ass'n., Annual Mtg.  December 7, 2000  Fargo Holiday Inn 
31st Annual Research Reporting Session  January 9, 2001  Fargo Holiday Inn 
Soil/Water Workshop  January 24, 2001  Fargo Doublewood Inn 
Fargo Growers Seminar  January 25, 2001  Fargo Holiday Inn 
Grand Forks Growers Seminar  January 29, 2001  Grand Forks Ramada Inn 
Wahpeton Growers Seminar  February 1, 2001  Wahpeton Eagles 
Grafton Growers Seminar  February 8, 2001  Parish Center 
So. MN Growers Seminar  February 21, 2001  Willmar Holiday Inn 
Site-Specific Ag Workshop  March 1, 2001  Fargo Holiday Inn
Int'l Crops Expo  March 7 & 8, 2001  Alerus, Grand Forks, ND 
International Sugarbeet Institute  March 14 & 15, 2001  Fargo Dome, Fargo, ND