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Sugarbeet Yield and Nitrogen Use Efficiency with Preplant Broadcast, Banded, or Point-Injected Nitrogen Application

Stevens, W.B., Blaylock, A.D., Krall, J.M., Hopkins, B.G., Ellsworth, J.W.
Agronomy journal 2007 v.99 no.5 pp. 1252
Beta vulgaris, sugar beet, crop yield, nitrogen, plant nutrition, nutrient use efficiency, nitrogen fertilizers, fertilizer rates, application methods, nutrient management, crop quality, sucrose, soil treatment, Wyoming
Rising fertilizer costs and environmental concerns have heightened the need to improve N management in furrow-irrigated sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) production. A study was conducted at two Wyoming locations to compare the effect of different preplant N placement strategies on yield, quality, and N use efficiency (NUE). Nitrogen was applied at rates from 0 to 358 kg ha-1 using three different placement strategies: broadcast and incorporated (BI), knife-banded (KB) 18 cm from the seed row, or point-injected (PI) 8 cm from the seed row. Placement had no consistent effect on root sucrose content. Point injection produced the greatest maximum predicted yield (YMAX) in five of six N responsive site-years with an average advantage of 603 and 975 kg ha-1 sucrose compared to BI and KB, respectively. The amount of N required for maximum sucrose yield ranged from about 10 to 100 kg N ha-1 less for PI than for other placement methods. For site-years where a response to N occurred, NUE was highest with PI, intermediate with KB (19% less than PI), and lowest with BI (28% less than PI). The advantage of PI, which placed N closer to the seed row than the other methods, was attributed to less leaching and greater uptake of N during early growth stages when the sugarbeet has little lateral root development. It was concluded that PI is an effective tool for maintaining high N concentration in the root zone for optimum early vegetative growth at lower N rates, thus improving NUE in sugarbeet production.