ISSUE #399

399 - Foundation For Success In 2001


PIK Acres For 2001

Nothing has been decided about a PIK or Product for Production program for sugarbeets for 2001. Every acre of sugarbeets planted should have best management agronomy Gold Standard Practices used this spring. Trying to anticipate what will happen at USDA or in congress is even more difficult than predicting the weather.

Date of Planting Impacts Yield

It seems apparent mother nature may not be as kind in 2001 allowing early planting on many fields. Figure one shows the relationship of planting date and yield for American Crystal during the 5-year period of 1996-2000. Each week delay in planting after early May will result in a loss of 1 to 1.5 tons per acre.


The 1997 growing season may very well be similar to what will be experienced in 2001. Flooding of farmland should be less extensive barring unforeseen circumstances in 2001 Figure 2 shows impact of planting date on yields in 1997.

Maximize Crop Potential When Planting Late:

  • Fine tune your planters in advance
  • Have seed, insecticide and starter fertilizer ready
  • Inventory your spare parts needs
  • Strive for an established beet stand of at least 160 beets/100’ as rows close
  • Plant about 4.5 mph with Maximerg II planters
  • Don’t exceed 3 mph w/Miltons or 4 mph w/plate planters

Seedbed Preparation and Wet Soils:

  • Work seedbeds at the proper moisture content for each soil type
  • Avoid soil compaction in the spring
  • Ensure proper seed to soil contact
  • Adjust planter press wheel settings to enhance seed furrow closure

Starter Fertilizer Impact on Stand Establishment

Dr. Larry Smith, Dr. Joe Giles and Dr. Al Cattanach have conducted extensive research in the 1980’s and 1990’s with starter fertilizer. Rates of 3 gpa of 10-34-0 very rarely caused stand loss. As rates of N and K approach 5 lb/A stand loss often occurs. The following information is from NCR publication No. 341 by extension specialists Dr. Jim Gerwing and Dr. Dave Franzen of SDSU and NDSU.

Salt Index Comparison

A frequent claim is that clear liquid fertilizers such as most 9-18-9 materials contain less salt and therefore cause less seed injury when placed with the seed. However these fertilizers have also been shown to reduce germination when placed with the seed. There may be less salt since the source of potassium is potassium hydroxide rather than potassium chloride. However, the urea used as the N source can result in ammonia injury, which is more detrimental than the salt injury.

Regardless of the origin of fertilizer salts, all salts may have a detrimental effect on germination when applied with the seed at improper rates.

There is no absolutely safe amount of salt that can be applied to seed of sensitive crops such as dry bean, soybean and other legumes.

Table 1. Influence of seed placed liquid fertilizer on soybean stands, 2 site average, Brookings, SD. Gelderman, et al., 1995.

Rate of P205applied to 30 inch rowsLiquid Fertilizer Grade
lb/A% stand
0 100 100 100
12.5 92 94 34
25 80 59 9
50 47 26 2

American Crystal Field Measuring Plans For 2001

Shareholders of American Crystal Sugar Company will be seeing agriculturists and measuring scouts out in their fields soon after planting. The American Crystal Measuring Team has done extensive planning on the most efficient way to get shareholder’s fields measured by July 15. The team members include Jerry Christenson, Cory Kritzberger, Maureen Aubol, Donna Aafedt, Marc Connelly, Tim Kenyon, Maureen O’Leary, Ron Ellingson and Mark Helmowski. Agriculturists will be responsible for measuring their fields in 2001.

After searching for existing equipment and software to do the job, the team chose Precision Partners of Fergus Falls, MN to write a software program that best suits American Crystal. This software is very user friendly and is designed to make file management easy. It will help the agriculturist track which fields are measured, fix any errors and send completed files to the corporate office for boundary file management. The equipment needed to successfully complete the project is an Ipaq hand-held computer, a Trimble GPS Unit for each agriculturist to measure the fields, 4X4 ATV’s and measuring scouts. Precision Partners will be at each factory district in April to train ag office coordinators and agriculturists on the software program.

All map printing will be done in the office at each factory location. This will ensure timely delivery to shareholders. Contracting is a crucial element of measuring fields. If a shareholder is late or not contracted at the time of measuring, the field cannot be measured correctly. A change in fields slows the process also. The sooner the shareholder alerts the agriculturist to changes made the sooner that field measurement can be completed. Communication is a key factor to successfully completing this project on time. Shareholder cooperation is needed and will be greatly appreciated.

Phosphorus Fertility Management

Many agriculturists, consultants and university specialists continue to get calls about use of starter or broadcast phosphorus fertilizer this spring.

Keep in mind the following information:

  • Know if you are talking about ppm (parts per million) or lbs/acre
  • 1.0 ppm = 2.0 lbs./acre
  • Soil test labs report results in ppm for P and K and lbs./acre for N
  • Fertilizer recommendations are given in lbs./acre for N, P205 and K20

Phosphorus fertilizer recommendations from Dr. Larry Smith and Dr. Al Sims at the University of Minnesota include:

  • If the soil test level is 12 ppm or greater apply no starter or broadcast P205 fertilizer
  • If the soil test level is less than 12 ppm and you fall applied the recommended broadcast phosphorus fertilizer apply no more
  • If the soil test level is 8-11 ppm you can use either 3 gpa of 10-34-0 or the recommended broadcast P205 recommendation for crop needs
  • If the soil test level is 7 ppm or less you can apply the broadcast P205 recommendation or 3 gpa of 10-34-0 and only 30-40 lbs./acre P205
  • If the soil test level is 4-7 ppm phosphorus ONE YEAR of research indicates only