Tuesday, January 27, 2015

April Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up: Sugar Beet As A Cover Crop

The stereotype that farmers are backwards still exists in America. I hope that readers of GriggsDakota have learned this: Farming is a research driven business that feeds and clothes the world. Globally, it is the biggest business in the world. Farmers feed all the people, pets, and much of the wildlife. Fibers raised on farms are used by everybody, every single day. Farmers must constantly seek a better and more efficient way to produce food and fiber.
In order to stay up to date on the new farming practices, Farmer Fred likes to try new applications and products. Cover crops have become an important part of our practice to maintain soil health. We have used different plants as cover crops. This post talks about using sugar beets as a cover crop.
The April Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up is presented to:
Sugar Beets as A Cover Crop: Spring Update
Originally published on April 28, 2014

 Farmer Fred likes to get out and check the fields now that the trails can be driven. 
He recently checked the field on which we planted Sugar Beets as a Cover Crop. If you follow the link, you will see what we learned about this cover crop. We hoped that beets would mature enough to help to loosen the soil.
Late in the season, cattle grazed the field. You can see that in this wet spot,  salts have accumulated. Those salts, combined with accumulated moisture, make it difficult for this area to be productive during the growing season.
Deer also frequented the spot. You can see a fresh track on the trail in the above photo. 
It surprised Farmer Fred to see that the grazers did not disturb many of the beets in the ground. 
The beets above and countless others spent the winter in the ground. As the ground warms up, the sugar beets will deteriorate. That will leave a spot for air and water to permeate the soil.  
We will continue to watch this spot as the crop is planted and emerges. For now, the sugar beets do seem to have eliminated some of the moisture and salts in this soggy place in the field of GriggsDakota.

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