Taking Nitrogen Credit for Unharvested Sugar Beets
Alan Blaylock, Ph.D.
Dr. Alan Blaylock brings extensive North American and international experience in nutrient management to the agronomy team. University studies and service as a university extension soils specialist prepared him for a long career in the fertilizer industry. Having managed both domestic and global research and education programs, Dr. Blaylock has a wealth of experience in applying science-based nutrient management principles and products to solving practical questions. Dr. Blaylock earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in agronomy and horticulture from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in soil science from Iowa State University. He has been in agriculture his entire life — from his childhood on an irrigated farm in eastern Oregon to teaching soil science at Iowa State University to his current role as an agronomist at Nutrien. These diverse experiences helped Dr. Blaylock develop the skills to excel in translating complex scientific principles into practical solutions. Although early in his university studies he explored computer science as a profession, deep family roots in agriculture brought him back to the people and values of his heritage. His career satisfaction comes from helping others improve the performance of nutrients and cropping systems.
Fall of 2019 was a challenging season to say the least. In the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota, many acres of sugar beets were left unharvested because of wet fall conditions. Some are now asking if there is a fertilizer value to the crop left in the field. While the tops have some nitrogen value, there is little nitrogen to be taken from roots remaining in the field. A small amount of additional nitrogen may, in fact, be needed to aid decomposition of the remaining roots. Growers can take a 2-foot soil sample to test for nitrate available in the spring. University of Minnesota has published some guidelines on this topic.
You can read more about it here.
These extension publications may also be helpful: https://www.smbsc.com/Agronomy/AgBeet/Management%20of%20Unharvested%20Beets%202017.pdf