Green Manure Crops in Sugar Beets
The Amalgamated Sugar Company LLC has 1,100 growers raising 185,000 acres of sugar beets in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Around 100,000 acres are infected with cyst nematode. The fumigants, dichloropropene and carbamate, are currently used to control this pest. Green manure crops, specifically oil radish and mustard, have proven to be effective in controlling cyst nematode. The purpose of this application is to continue the work we started in 2005, with the help of a grant received from American Farmland Trust. Our goal is to show producers that it is economically feasible to use biological control for the cyst nematode. Our ultimate goal is the elimination of chemicals in controlling cyst nematodes in sugar beets. Green manure crops have been studied in other cropping systems, often addressing only a single benefit. The uniqueness of this project is that it encompasses more than just one economic and agronomic benefit. Producers see changes in their disease control, erosion control, water infiltration rates, soil compaction, and nutrient movement. When producers are shown the added benefits of green manure crops over the use of chemicals, they are more willing to make the transition. The full extent of benefits from the project started in 2005 will be available in November 2006. This current project will give us one rotation’s worth of data. We would like to expand the program, so that we have at least two rotation’s worth of information. This is critical for fully documenting the benefits and transitioning growers to biological control.
Project goals and objectives
Our goal is to show producers that it is economically feasible to use biological control for the cyst nematode.
• Of the 890 growers currently using 107 lbs/acre dichloropropene or 33 lbs/acre carbamate to control sugar beet cyst nematode, 52 growers will eliminate their use of these chemicals by growing a green manure crop in 2006.