Cover crop pre direct drilled beet?

Spud

Member
Location
YO62
Maybe a crazy idea this.

I have a 12acre field coming beet, thats a bit more bodied than ideal.
Normal for us pre beet is to plough and press sometime between November and Feb, once muck has become available, spread, and ground conditions allow. Sometimes miss out the muck on the bodied land (put it on before the previous crop instead) to get it ploughed earlier. If we get a wet winter, early ploughed heavier land slumps, and is a pain to fettle in spring - an inch of tilth on top of soft but wet & sticky goo. It also means spring ploughing is late, so doesn't get enough weathering. Recent weather extremes have exacerbated this, so I'm reassesing the situation.

A wise man wouldn't grow beet in there. Lets overlook that bit for now!

Current thinking is to mintil drill a light barley & vetch cover in early September (its in spring wheat now, was mucked last year), spray off early, and drill the beet straight into the residue.

Beet drill is a Stanhay 592, 6 row. We have a low disturbance tool bar with a leading disc followed by an LD leg that we run in front of our Moore drill (mounted) that could carry the beet drill without too much modifying, but this might disturb too much clart underneath if its a wet spring.

We also have (York sale bargain) a genuine Stanhay crumbler bar (3 tines in front of a crumber wheel on individual parallel linkages in front of each row) that might be a better bet, possibly using a Cousins microlift tine instead of the three straight dutch harrow style tines in it currently) Not used it yet tbf.

Ideas/comments please?

Cheers
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
A straight rye cover is usually sufficient, I've seen beet DD straight through the standing crop and then double rolled with cambridge rollers - first pass to lay it the way the drill went, and the second pass at 90° to "crimp" the stems the way the crimping rollers do, terminating the rye and providing even coverage of residue.

Without complicating it much, the next year they used harrows on the first roller pass to shake some rye seed out, which then gave a bit of extra soil protection while the beet was being grazed.

Averaged 33TDM/ha and eliminated the chemical spend, so quite a profitable crop - as C S Lewis said, you're never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream
 

Spud

Member
Location
YO62
A straight rye cover is usually sufficient, I've seen beet DD straight through the standing crop and then double rolled with cambridge rollers - first pass to lay it the way the drill went, and the second pass at 90° to "crimp" the stems the way the crimping rollers do, terminating the rye and providing even coverage of residue.

Without complicating it much, the next year they used harrows on the first roller pass to shake some rye seed out, which then gave a bit of extra soil protection while the beet was being grazed.

Averaged 33TDM/ha and eliminated the chemical spend, so quite a profitable crop - as C S Lewis said, you're never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream
Interesting, I hadn't considered Rye.
I ought to of clarified, this is to be sugar beet, for harvesting rather than grazing.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Interesting, I hadn't considered Rye.
I ought to of clarified, this is to be sugar beet, for harvesting rather than grazing.
I've never even seen a sugar beet! 🙈

Rye is widely used for covercrops simply because it's so easy to terminate once it's got a stem, all that's needed is to crimp or crush it.
And a thick matt of groundcover provides long-lasting soil protection/weed suppression with less issue than other cereals.
Would be really interested to see how you get on, with whatever you decide to do .
 

scholland

Member
Location
ze3
Fodder beet established into oats below.
We wanted the cover for shelter from our wind.
Dd the oats about 2 weeks before dd the beet.
Next year will aim for more cover on the oats before drilling the beet, whether that means spring oats earlier or winter oats in not sure. If winter oats I could graze with sheep before drilling.
We wanted the oats to keep growing with the beet for a while so killed them with satchmo once the beet was away.

Fodder beet admittedly so a little different from harvested sugar beet. I've heard of folk broadcasting barley at beet drilling to help with shelter and George sly has documented strip till beet on twitter very well.
IMG_20200628_100145.jpg
 

Spud

Member
Location
YO62
I tried sowing oats with the combi as we cultivated the beet seedbeds last year - the biggest problem was the oats grew way faster than the beet! Pressure created by last year's wet back end meant we didn't have time to mess about experimenting this spring.

Great to see other folk doing similar things - maybe I'm not totally bonkers after all!
 

scholland

Member
Location
ze3
Our weather was rough enough in mid May that some of the oats got a beating.
Photos below of beet, 1 with healthy oats the other with little too no cover.
IMG_20200517_103215.jpg
IMG_20200517_103229.jpg
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
Just took out a heavy infestation of wild oats with ' Falcon in fb , was a bit worried about the allopathic effects from the oats, but it hasn't had any effect on the fathen that's charging away now :rolleyes:.
Because the wo were very thick in places theres for awhile there mustve been Quite a smothering effect though on the beet but they are now showing above quite well, might top dress in the showers to give it a boost.
Would help prevent capping ir and weve had a lot of cool wind as well, unusual for the time of year, si its helped keep that off/ warmer around the beet, what about mildew tho, I know little of growing it tbh,

It's the fathen ( lambtounge) that worries me now .......
 

Will 1594

Member
Arable Farmer
Spud . You say bodied. , tatie land or not .
we will have around 70 acre this time coming beet. On heavier ground
run two separate rotations , one round spuds , carrot , other round beet , beans on the heavier fields not suitable for spuds , ours and neighbours , will get subsoiler where combine wheels run legs at 3.5 m and headlands , then tickled over and mustard , then mid late September, fibro and beet salt on , then ploughed , when dry enough to travel on. , subsoiler through it to level and half work down , then in spring .front cultivator and mulch drill , this has worked well last 5 years
Have tried half field worked at backend and oil raddish down behind low disturbance subsoiler like when sow rape , at 45 cm rows ,in backend . then mulch drilled between it . Worked ok , slower to get going but by June not much in it
The ultimate would be , strip till in backend sowing 2 different mixes , one down strip and and different in between , then sprsy off January and run a row cleaner or strip till back through to freshen up in spring .
our neighbours agronomist. , has a customer who kylio cover off and dd beet in to it had some issues with germination , COuld residue of Chem affect it ?
there is a lad down in Suffolk who grows beet on heavy land and then he laughs and says very heavy land And strip till , had good results and some serious disasters.
think you will struggle to get consistent depth with coulter drill need disc / mulch drill when straight in , that is what I have found , now got disc mulch drill , Makes the job
 
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Spud

Member
Location
YO62
Thanks @Will 1594 some interesting stuff there. This field has grown spuds 20yrs ago, but it's not taty land really - ok in a dry time.

Trying to reduce cost of establishment & increase resilience. Mulch theory has worked really well in spring oats, so hoping it will improve weed control in the beet too.

You wouldn't subsoil this stuff in spring, it'd just make a smeary mess. Thinking it'll carry the harvester better if we don't plough it.

Hoping the coulter drill will make a job with a leading disc & LD tine in front. It has clod clearers on.

Might chicken out & power harrow half of it if we have to!
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
Will the stanhay 592 drill not just block up in the cover crop?
the clever bit would be not having them too thick, or advanced i guess, how that will work with a mild growy early spring is anyone's guess .. weather is more unpredictable these days...
 

Spud

Member
Location
YO62
Will the stanhay 592 drill not just block up in the cover crop?
Without a cutting disc in front, yes it will. Hoping a disc & LD toolbar (currently on the front of our Moore drill, but same leg spacing as beet drill on purpose) will do the job. I have a set of genuine Stanhay crumble rollers that might get engineered in between the two yet! 592 has clod pushers on which work well in normal conditions.
 

Spud

Member
Location
YO62
the clever bit would be not having them too thick, or advanced i guess, how that will work with a mild growy early spring is anyone's guess .. weather is more unpredictable these days...
True. Lighter cc seedrates have contributed greatly to lower grassweed levels, principly by letting the light and wind in. The key I think will be timing the cc destruction right. Not easy! Ah well it'll entertain the neighbours if nowt else! (Roadside field.....)
 

bert

Member
Location
n.yorks
Seen as it’s just one field and your experimenting, getting a contractor in to drill it with a disc drill into a cover crop might be the easiest thing to do, to see if it works first before spending a day or two chopping and changing what you have.

I believe there is a couple of disc drills in the area although I’ve never seen them chopping their way through a cover crop.
 
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Spud

Member
Location
YO62
Seen as it’s just one field and your experimenting, getting a contractor in to drill it with a disc drill into a cover crop might be the easiest thing to do, to see if it works first before spending a day or to chopping and changing what you have.

I believe there is a couple of disc drills in the area although I’ve never seen them chopping there way through a cover crop.
Possibly, but where's the fun in that?
Tine bar has leading discs and a 3pl on the back, so not cutting and shutting.
The cc will not be thick and will be dead at the point of drilling.
The flaw with a contractor for such things is the buggeration factor - understandably they want to be onto the next job, I don't like holding folk up. If it's me taking all Sunday to drill 12ac there's still no bill to pay either!
 

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