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Four years ago, Steve Maier and Ben Bergen set out on the strip-till route for reasons similar to those of a number of other Idaho sugarbeet producers doing so at that time. Their objectives were to (1) minimize wind erosion (and replants) on lighter soils, (2) reduce field passes prior to planting (saving time and fuel), and (3) bolster overall crop productivity. Some of the initial interest among the state’s beet producers has softened during the past year or two — often because of management issues with heavy trash in 22-inch rows. But for Maier and his employee Bergen, the interest in — and benefits of — strip-tilled beets still runs strong on the Maier farm near Rupert.
Don Lilleboe is editor of 'The Sugarbeet Grower' and 'Gilmore Sugar Manual.'