One-Year Seed Section Control Study in Sugar Beets in Northwestern Europe

AGCO puts farmers first, and that means discovering ways to unlock yield potential while farming more efficiently and sustainably. AGCO’s Agronomy and Advanced Farm Solutions team is hard at work bringing the latest research from fields around the globe to the farmers who feed the world. Check back on Tuesdays for a new agronomic research study as the team explores different crops, equipment, pathogens, and growing practices.

May 25, 2021 by AGCO

One-Year Seed Section Control Study in Sugar Beets in Northwestern Europe

AGCO puts farmers first, and that means discovering ways to unlock yield potential while farming more efficiently and sustainably. AGCO’s Agronomy and Advanced Farm Solutions team is hard at work bringing the latest research from fields around the globe to the farmers who feed the world. Check back on Tuesdays for a new agronomic research study as the team explores different crops, equipment, pathogens, and growing practices.

The objective of this study was to quantify the sugar beet yield impact of section control technology.

The study was conducted in 2019 on two different sugar beet fields that were double planted on a 45-degree angle to the master row direction. The sugar beet in the master rows was hand-harvested and measured as harvested yield with beets between the rows counted as loss. This procedure is a replication of how a sugar beet harvester will react in areas of the field with overlapping rows.  See figure 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1. Red line = main planting wayline
Dashed line = experimental 45-degree overlap wayline

Results:  

Across the two locations, the harvest result showed a significant difference between sugar yields in the area with overlap compared to the non-overlapped area. The yield in the non-overlapped area was 13.5 ton/ha on average compared to 8.1 ton/ha for the overlapped area. The overlapped area reduced the yield by 40% compared to non-overlapped area. See figure 2.

The main reason for the reduced yield is caused by smaller beets due to increased plant competition. The plant population in the overlapped area is doubled so the competition for water and nutrients results in smaller beets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2

Additional Observations:

  • The sugar beets in the overlapped area had an uneven root size compared to the non-overlapped area.
  • The harvester speed in the overlapped area was 4.4 km/h compared to 5.0 km/h in the non-overlapped area, resulting in a -0.2 ha/h or -15% lower field efficiency for the harvester.

See figure 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3

Recommendations and Equipment Solutions: 

The use of section control can improve yield, crop quality and harvest equipment field efficiency compared to sugar beets planted without section control, based on the findings of this one-year study.
Section control is available on Massey Ferguson, Fendt, and Valtra tractors.

Payback: 

  • Based on the assumption that the average overlap area for equipment not using section control is 15% and by using section control the overlapped area during planting can be reduced to 0%, the seed cost saving will be 45 EUR/ha.
  • The yield loss due to overlapping can be reduced by 135 EUR/ha.
  • The total net revenue increases by 180 EUR/ha or 12 EUR/Pct. reduced overlap.
  • The above calculation is based on seed price of 300 EUR/ha and yield loss due to overlap of 30 ton/ha at a price of 3 EUR/ton.

*2 sites: 2019 -Rommerskirchen, GER; Reusel, NL

Study Contact: 

Jens Christian Jensen, AGCO Agronomist, Northwestern Europe. Connect with Jens Christian on Linkedin.

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