Sugarbeet Growth as Affected by Wheat Residues and Nitrogen Fertilization

John T. Moraghan, Albert L. Sims, Larry J. Smith

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4 Scopus citations


Little is known about how low-N, mature wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) straw and high-N, postharvest volunteer wheat growth from the previous year influence N fertilizer requirements for sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.). This 2-yr field study examined how wheat straw (3.36 and 6.72 Mg ha-1; 3.5 g N kg-1 in 2000 and 8.0 g N kg-1 in 2001), preflowering wheat residues (2.1 to 4.2 Mg ha-1; 29.1 to 44.7 g N kg -1), and urea (0 to 225 kg N ha-1), fall-applied and incorporated, affected sugarbeet growth. The previous crop was wheat, and wheat straw was removed from the experimental sites subsequent to the grain harvest. Sugar yields were decreased 10% by application of 3.36 Mg ha-1 straw and 25% by 6.72 Mg ha-1 straw in 2000. The corresponding 2001 sugar decreases were 13 and 19%, respectively. Application of 45 kg ha-1 urea N largely overcame the detrimental effect from 3.36 Mg ha-1 straw but only partially overcame the detrimental effect from 6.72 Mg ha -1 straw in both experiments. Plant N, petiole NO3-N, and soil inorganic N (NH4-N + NO3-N) data all indicated that incorporation of low-N mature wheat straw decreased availability of soil N, probably due to net N immobilization associated with straw decomposition. In contrast to mature wheat straw, application and incorporation of high-N, preflowering wheat residues increased recoverable sugar yields in both years. Removal of straw after a wheat crop reduces the N fertilizer requirement for a subsequent sugarbeet crop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1560-1565
Number of pages6
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2003


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