Friday, October 18, 2013

What We Learned: Sugar Beets as a Cover Crop

Before the cattle are turned onto the Sugar Beets that we planted as a cover crop, I decided to let you know what we learned about this process. 
Sugar beets need warm open ground to germinate. 
They germinated very well in low ground where no crop grew and hence no volunteer barley came up after harvesting our crop in August. 
 In fact, in salty ground, like that produced in areas that are often wet, they flourished.
The sugar beet plants will help to dry out the ground and neutralize the soil. 
Their roots have grown down over six inches into the soil and expanded to open up the surface area of the soil, which is just what we were hoping. 
You can see in the photos that where the barley did not volunteer, the sugar beets grew. Last Spring we were unable to seed the low spots in this field.
And where the barley grew up quickly, the sugar beets did not compete well. 
Some of the barley has done so well this Fall that it is starting to form heads. 
 It could be July, except for the golden leaves and cool daytime temperatures. In truth, the heads on the volunteer plants are small and would not produce an adequate crop. 
 It is October and amazing to us that the barley had enough days to reach this stage of development without freezing.
The cattle are patiently waiting for their opportunity to enjoy this delightful field. 
Correction, not everyone is patient in GriggsDakota.

1 comment:

  1. hahahahaha! Little Moo Moo...he was hungry... Happy Friday!