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Thread: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

  1. #1
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    We are trying a field of sugar beet established via strip till this year (next spring obviously). At the moment it has Pedders mix (see photos thread) growing on it. I have been advised by a French agronomist who does lots of strip till beet that I should be spraying the cover crop off in December, then tilling about 2 weeks before we want to drill. I'm happy with the timing of the tillage (it's very light sandy soil) but I don't understand the logic of spraying off so early.

    I'd appreciate peoples' views on this - should we leave the glyphosate until February?

  2. #2
    autopilot
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Depends what you have growing in the mix as some could affect the beet seed germination unless it is cultivated well before drilling.

  3. #3
    Exfarmer
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Couple of reasons I can think of
    Leave it too late and run the risk of no moisture left in a dry spring
    Having a mat of rotting material in a wet spring would be just as bad

  4. #4
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    The cultivations will take place several weeks before drilling. Do people who drill straight into cover crops in the spring (peas or beans) spray off the cover in December?

  5. #5
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    The tradition of strip till is usually till a while before drilling.

    Why Mzuri/Claydon call there's strip till I don't know, but it doesn't really matter.

  6. #6
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Forget the timing of the strip tillage !

    Will, you grow spring crops after cover crops don't you? Do you spray them off before drilling?

  7. #7
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    Forget the timing of the strip tillage !

    Will, you grow spring crops after cover crops don't you? Do you spray them off before drilling?
    No generally I grow Spring wheat after grazed turnips. That works quite well.

    And crap Spring Rape after a left alone stubble which would have been mucked. Personally I'm not sure completely where cover crops fit in with me after late harvests and if I'm putting muck down anyway ie I'm saying unless I get something in early I don't see the point in my circumstances.

    It doesn't look like your going to have a heap of residue from your cover crop so you can probably leave it carry on until later if you wanted without any bother - possibly french covers are more advanced?

  8. #8
    Mr.10.000Volt
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    @dka
    I don`t know if you can transort the french solutions 1 by 1 to Great Britain.
    Depending on the region in France you might have rather dry periods in spring.

    In areas with more moisture in spring I`d rather prefer an early tillage/striptillage and glyphosate very close to the planting date. So the growing plants might use some of the surplus water and nitrogen from the covercrop is availlible in the growing period of the beets.

  9. #9
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    too much moisture is very rarely a problem in this part of the world. We've had barely 25mm in the last month.

  10. #10
    james lloyd
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    The cultivations will take place several weeks before drilling. Do people who drill straight into cover crops in the spring (peas or beans) spray off the cover in December?
    have seen a few fields of maize drilled into a cover crop of beans in our area, if the cover crop is killed around christmas the maize gets a better start as the soil is warmer, N is available from dead plants, maize seed germinates more evenly as drill works better (and no toxins from decomposing vegitation).

    the hards core direct drillers (those with more experience) drill into a growing crops as they say that they get the following benefits, slugs eat growing crop, weeds are smothered, nitrogen is available for the growing maize when it needs it and not at germination, less risk of erosion.

    I suppose in the end it is what suits your system!!

  11. #11
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Thanks, that's interesting. So the safer option is to spray earlier

  12. #12
    Normandyfarmer
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Hello there, I think I know this french agronomist ...
    James is right, by killing the cover crop early, the element will be available to the next crop.
    Cereals like oats or volunteers if not killed early are the worst for that.

    With the cover crop you have, I think that the buckwheat and the flowers will die at the first frost.

  13. #13
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by Normandyfarmer View Post
    Hello there, I think I know this french agronomist ...
    Is it you?

  14. #14
    devils advocate
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Would love to try a version of this with vegetables on raised beds.

    Was thinking along the lines of forming beds in November & establishing wheat cover crop/not sure how. Sterile brome would be excellent in fact, not sure where to get the seed.

    Spraying off strips where the seed is to be drilled mid Feb & spraying the whole cover off mid April. Then cultivating the sprayed off strips with steerage hoe & drilling the veg (culinary swedes)

    Weed suspression & bed stablisation are my priorities.

  15. #15
    james lloyd
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    [QUOTE=Normandyfarmer;1008704]Hello there, I think I know this french agronomist ...
    James is right, by killing the cover crop early, the element will be available to the next crop.
    Cereals like oats or volunteers if not killed early are the worst for that.

    With the cover crop you have, I think that the buckwheat and the flowers will die at the first frost.[/QUOT

    Not clever enough to be an agronomist, just a simple farmer.

    I have sent you a pm with my contact details as I would like to try your strip till machine to establish our maize. I am currently watching my neighbour with interest who has done a trial of a couple of hundred hectares.

    james

  16. #16
    autopilot
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by devils advocate View Post
    Would love to try a version of this with vegetables on raised beds.

    Was thinking along the lines of forming beds in November & establishing wheat cover crop/not sure how. Sterile brome would be excellent in fact, not sure where to get the seed.

    Spraying off strips where the seed is to be drilled mid Feb & spraying the whole cover off mid April. Then cultivating the sprayed off strips with steerage hoe & drilling the veg (culinary swedes)

    Weed supression & bed stablisation are my priorities.
    I am trying something similar for veg this autumn with modules except I am not using raised beds because I am concerned that the soil may dry out for our planting date at the begining of June.

    Will be trying areas with and without autumn cultivations, with and without strip till, with and without cover crop all following wheat stubble.

  17. #17
    devils advocate
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by autopilot View Post
    I am trying something similar for veg this autumn with modules except I am not using raised beds because I am concerned that the soil may dry out for our planting date at the begining of June.

    Will be trying areas with and without autumn cultivations, with and without strip till, with and without cover crop all following wheat stubble.
    Has the difficult summer influced your decision. It certainly has mine, leaching such an issue, but I think swede growers are in an almost unique situation of having to grow crops under netting with only poor herbicides available.

  18. #18
    autopilot
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by devils advocate View Post
    Has the difficult summer influced your decision. It certainly has mine, leaching such an issue, but I think swede growers are in an almost unique situation of having to grow crops under netting with only poor herbicides available.
    To a point, but I have been waiting for a strip till to cultivate a 6 inch strip in the wheat stubble for Winter and then cultivate with the strip till again in Spring down the same strip. I want to see if it will create a good enough tilth to transplant the modules into it rather than ploughing and power harrowing (current method).
    The main problem that could happen is the cover crop may create too much root for the module planter to work in, unless it is killed fairly early, whereas I want to leave it as long as possible for weed control. Decisions, decisions....

  19. #19
    Exfarmer
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    In the past for sugar beet on blow away sand we used to use a cereal cover crop established with a power harrow drill
    Then take out the drill rows with a band sprayer with roundup before beet emerged
    Worked well most years

  20. #20
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    would i be better off getting some sheep in to graze off the cover rather than glyphosating? I'm a bit worried about nutrient hotspots...

  21. #21
    FarmerDan
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    would i be better off getting some sheep in to graze off the cover rather than glyphosating? I'm a bit worried about nutrient hotspots...
    DKA,

    This would be my prefered method of dealing with the cover crop: Graze it off as late as possible before first strip till pass. Allow regrowth. Glyphosate. Second pass. Slug pellet if necessary. Drill.

    Slugs don't eat sheep dung and the dung will have more quickly available nutrients than rotting vegetation.

    Any chance of direct drilling a few beet rows as well as a trial.....? I'd love to try strip till with our fodder beet, but can't justify the machinery outlay on the bit we grow.

  22. #22
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    would i be better off getting some sheep in to graze off the cover rather than glyphosating? I'm a bit worried about nutrient hotspots...
    Yes send it through an animal but don't let them take everything. Leave about 15% which they inevitably will anyway.

    You will probably still need to spray for grasses etc.

  23. #23
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerDan View Post
    DKA,

    This would be my prefered method of dealing with the cover crop: Graze it off as late as possible before first strip till pass. Allow regrowth. Glyphosate. Second pass. Slug pellet if necessary. Drill.

    Slugs don't eat sheep dung and the dung will have more quickly available nutrients than rotting vegetation.

    Any chance of direct drilling a few beet rows as well as a trial.....? I'd love to try strip till with our fodder beet, but can't justify the machinery outlay on the bit we grow.
    Would be a good nuffield scholarship for someone. Sugar beet and Fodder beet in Strip till. go to France and USA. Important topic I reckon.

  24. #24
    Devon James
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Would be a good nuffield scholarship for someone. Sugar beet and Fodder beet in Strip till. go to France and USA. Important topic I reckon.

    ...or Devon

  25. #25
    York
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Would be a good nuffield scholarship for someone. Sugar beet and Fodder beet in Strip till. go to France and USA. Important topic I reckon.
    Will,
    I think it's a go for your 3rd round :-)
    Strip Till: please take the afford and research a little in the history. It's done in US now for almost 20 years and still they haven't got it in a way that they are happy with. The discussion board's over there are each autumn full with threads like: 2what was wrong, which tip should been used. Interesting to debate this from a historic perspective and obviously they are not able to work in a predictable perspective.
    Strip till is sexy, Yes, as it is a iron approach and passes around the feeling to the farmer: we are in control, we manage things. But so far the only one who is making money out of it is the machinery industry and researchers with new sponsored topics.
    Go for a Nuffield trip, at least if widens your horizont beyond the next hill you are always looking. I'm envious that you have it. We don't have this over here.
    York-Th.

  26. #26
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Third round of what?

  27. #27
    York
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Third round of what?
    sponsored / paid study trip :-)
    it's rely time for that again.
    At least I need after some month a little "fresh air" for the head.
    York-Th.

  28. #28
    FarmerDan
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by York View Post
    Will,
    I think it's a go for your 3rd round :-)
    Strip Till: please take the afford and research a little in the history. It's done in US now for almost 20 years and still they haven't got it in a way that they are happy with. The discussion board's over there are each autumn full with threads like: 2what was wrong, which tip should been used. Interesting to debate this from a historic perspective and obviously they are not able to work in a predictable perspective.
    Strip till is sexy, Yes, as it is a iron approach and passes around the feeling to the farmer: we are in control, we manage things. But so far the only one who is making money out of it is the machinery industry and researchers with new sponsored topics.
    Go for a Nuffield trip, at least if widens your horizont beyond the next hill you are always looking. I'm envious that you have it. We don't have this over here.
    York-Th.
    York, I assume you favour direct drilling beet after a specially selected cover crop mix such as the Terra BetaMax. How successful is this approach proving so far ? Can it compete with tillage based methods? Do you have any photos of crops grown in this way? All the literature I've found relating to no till beet indicates that yields go down.

    One thing is for sure, one would have a fighting chance of harvesting direct drilled beet without soil structure damage in a year like this. Just had a go this morning...:cry:

  29. #29
    York
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerDan View Post
    York, I assume you favour direct drilling beet after a specially selected cover crop mix such as the Terra BetaMax. How successful is this approach proving so far ? Can it compete with tillage based methods? Do you have any photos of crops grown in this way? All the literature I've found relating to no till beet indicates that yields go down.

    One thing is for sure, one would have a fighting chance of harvesting direct drilled beet without soil structure damage in a year like this. Just had a go this morning...:cry:
    I'm not rely in the Sugar beet No Till thing. Point is that the limitation is availability of reliable planters. it can be one, as enough publications on the internet are showing. Also in most parts in Germany sugar beet stand for 3 or so percent of the area. Rather a niche.
    You are right, that there is a difference in cover crops which we use for sugar beets etc.. Always ask the people offering the mix on the proof of the concept.
    And you see differences, even if you do Min till which is the most widely used system over here.

    By the way the oldest publication about Strip Till & fertilizer placement I found out of the year 1986 with the title:
    "Fertilizer Placement Methods: New Wrinkles on a New Face"

    So again it refers to: Nothing rely new on this earth.

    The only change since than is that we have much lower S input because of clean air act.
    York-Th.

  30. #30
    Normandyfarmer
    Guest

    Re: Sugar Beet strip till & cover crops

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    Is it you?
    Yes, it's me I'm visiting the forum sometime !

    @York : I don't agree with you on your vision of strip-till in the US. People using it right and following the basic principle are having very good results. People working in bad conditions, without the right fertilizer, on degraded soil, etc ... are having trouble, just like they would in min-till or no-till.

    Sugar beet harvest is on the way, and I'm not worry about the result in strip-till.

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