ISSUE #442

442 - Precision Nitrogen Management to Maximize Net Sucrose


Nitrogen fertility management has been a key component of American Crystal's Gold Standard agronomy strategy for well over 20 years. It began with the emphasis on beet payment premiums for delivery of high quality sugarbeets. Now 20 years later "Crystal Precision Farming tools" are available to help growers achieve Maximum Net Sucrose per acre much more often.

Crop Rotation Fertility Zone Management in 2 Easy Steps

Step 1. Grain this year, beets next?

After grain harvest is the perfect time to prepare for next years beet crop. Think of your field's fertility in zones. American Crystal has satellite images of the last time your field was planted to sugarbeets. We can provide you with zone maps based on that previous year's satellite image. Once zones have been defined within your field, you can soil sample according to each zone. Does the variability still exist? If more than 20 - 30# of soil N variability exists between zones, variable rate apply nitrogen instead of conventional spreading. Why is this so important? Because $45/acre increased revenue is worth it.


Step 2. Beets this year, grain next? 

Are you concerned about the rising cost of nitrogen fertilizer? You can cut your input cost for nitrogen by using zone management. As soon as your beet crop has been harvested, apply fertilizer for next years grain crop with beet top N credits based on satellite imagery of the beet canopy. American Crystal can provide you with a zone map to variable rate apply your nitrogen for next years wheat or barely crop, saving you money by applying fertilizer only where it's needed and maximizing revenue from future beet crops in rotation. Lodging of grain after beets should also be reduced.

Save $5 - $10 / A using beet top N credits. One call to your Agriculturist gets you set up.

For more information contact your agriculturist, precision ag retailer, or crop consultant for assistance with zone fertility management.


As natural gas prices continue to rise, NH3 and urea will get more expensive too.

Other Precision Ag Tools:

  1. Topography maps
  2. Yield monitor data
  3. Aerial photos

Use this information to further refine and complement satellite imagery to develop field fertility management zones.

Wet conditions mandate a look at field drainage

Above average rainfall has caused serious crop injury in every county in the Red River Valley in the past 5 years. Damage is most obvious south of highway 2 this year. Satellite images from 2003 fields to be planted to beets in 2004 can be used to improve drainage and reduce chances of crop loss if 2004 proves to be unusually wet too.

Illegal Practices:

Remember it is illegal to apply back to back applications of Eminent or Headline. Labels state you must alternate applications of these products with other fungicides.

442.3Details from a satellite image similar to the one on that appears on the left can guide a grower making effective drainage decisions.

Drainage Assistance:

  • Contact Your Agriculturist
  • Precision Ag Retailers
  • University Specialists
  • Crop Consultants
  • Drainage Specialists

Root Apids have been found in the Crookston area. Watch for them to appear in your fields. Contact your agriculturist for assistance. See Pest Alert section of Internet for photos.

Cercospora Management Reminders:

  • Alternate fungicide classes
  • Consider preharvest intervals
  • Monitor daily infection values closely
  • Don't quit spraying too soon
  • Never use more than one strobilurin per season if possible for cercospora (Headline, Gem, Quadris)
  • Don't cut rates
  • Scout fields for incidence and severity

Prepile Schedule Rotation



  1. Since there was no prepile for the 2002 harvest, the 2002 schedule was used as the basis for 2003.
  2. The new beet transportation contract causes some distribution changes due to Transystem's ability to haul 105,500 GVW from some North Dakota stations

Agriculturists have more information about prepile in your area.

Field Selection for Prepile:

Careful selection of fields for high quality can maximize your beet payment.