Monday, September 16, 2013

Sugar Beets as Cover Crop

There are sugar beets growing in GriggsDakota. 
The plants are growing as a cover crop. We hope that they will reduce compaction and salinity in the soil. 
The sugar beets were planted into the barley stubble and grow with the volunteer barley. 
Cover crops have become part of our minimum tillage practice on the farm. The crop was planted after the barley crop was combined. The sugar beets will grow until the snow flies. 
We hope that roots of the sugar beets will grow deep down into the soil while the barley roots hold the top soil in place. Both will provide surface trash to hold snow when it arrives later this Fall.
 I notice feathers and down scattered around as I count emerging sugar beets on an area that holds water in the Spring. It appears to be the spot where a coyote enjoyed a goose dinner. 
Maybe these little sugar beets will keep warm in the goose down this Fall.  
As the wind blows and the clouds roll around in GriggsDakota.


  1. I have never seen anyone plant sugar beets as a cover crop. Curious, why did you choose sugar beets over any other crop?

    1. Recommended because of chemistry used for weed control in winter wheat and barley. Sugar beets are also very good in high salt soils. Salt tolerance better than barley. Others in NE ND have used sugar beets as cover crop with good luck. Walsh county extension agent recommended.

      Thanks for following.

  2. On our farm in Ransom County, ND, we have never used sugar beets as cover crop either. We have used turnips and radishes before and have had great luck with them. Do you guys plan to fall/winter graze any of the cover crop acres?

  3. Justin,
    Limited fall grazing. That will be an experiment too. Thanks for following.