Sugarbeet Report

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Beets will soon be lifted and right afterwards is the best time to conduct soil sampling. Dave Franzen, NDSU Extension Soil Specialist talks about the best way to conduct soil sampling, with special consideration in this year's drought.

What is Sugarbeet Report?

“Sugarbeet Report” presented by NDSU Extension, features growing tips from NDSU sugar beet specialists and researchers.

Bruce Sundeen 0:00
This is the Sugarbeet Report, bringing you the latest information from NDSU throughout the sugarbeet growing season. Beets will soon be lifted and right afterwards is the best time to conduct soil sampling. According to Dave Franzen NDSU, Extension soil science specialist. Dave, you've consistently preached about how important soil sampling can be following harvest. But is it more important this year because of drought conditions?

Dave Franzen 0:26
Every year is important to the soil test. Otherwise, that second most expensive operation we do in the year is more of a guess than anything else. So this year, we're coming off a drought, one would think that we'd have pretty high residual nitrogen after a lot of our small grain crops and even after the corn and after other crops, that may or may not be the case. The only way to really figure it out is if you do some testing.

Bruce Sundeen 0:50
Is there a preferred method to testing soil?

Dave Franzen 0:54
The best way to have your samplers soil test is to insist they do his own sampling. They should know how to do this. And if not, there's people around the country on how to do it. But the value of the nitrate, the value of the phosphate is not even from one side of the field to the other in order to get an idea of what the majority of the field is going to need its own testing is really, really important. That also helps you with Ph decisions with lyming and yes, there is some soil that needs to be lined on the outskirts of sugarbeet land. Also the phosphate, the potash, all that is related to landscape in one way or the other. Sampling is really important and nitrate is going to give you an idea of what to use. And I expect that most fields will have a little bit more nitrate than normal. So we need to figure that out. Also, of course, this isn't beets, but most people have soybeans in the rotation sampling for nitrate before soybeans is also very important because elevated levels of nitrate will also increase the iron deficiency chlorosis next year, even this year, when we had so little water, there was enough water around to have iron deficiency chlorosis. So sample for the nitrate if it's really really high, then there's a need for companion crop next spring oats, barley and something that you can kill out to get rid of that.

Bruce Sundeen 2:16
Can the drought conditions change any of the soil testing procedures?

Dave Franzen 2:21
So it's very possible because some of the fields are pretty dry, that in those really dry areas because of the cracking in the field. And just because of the hardness of the ground and either be A. really, really hard and sampler might be tempted to give up before they go to a deeper depth because it's just so dang hard. or number two, you happen to go into a crack. And so you've got to maybe about five inches in the surface, and then there's a gap of a foot and then you got six inches at the bottom. That's a throwaway core. So people that are doing the sampling, they need to be conscientious and understand what the value of what they're doing really is is not just an exercise in person, really, really needs to know what the nitrate is and that whole two foot section the zero to six and the six to 24. So taking a proper core, one would think it'd be easier in dry weather but with respect to the clays when all the cracking in the ground may be a little bit more difficult in areas. You know just take a deep breath go a few feet over to the side and then the next core will probably be just fine.

Bruce Sundeen 3:20
Thanks Dave. Our guest today has been Dave Franzen, NDSU Extension soil science specialist. This has been the Sugarbeet Report, bringing you the latest information from NDSU throughout the sugarbeet growing season.