A 'medium compaction' study plot area shows the difference in sugarbeet plant growth with zero tillage (left) and with zone tillage shanks set at a 10-inch depth (right).
Zone (strip) tillage in sugarbeets has become notably more popular in recent years across the beet-producing areas of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. The system conserves soil, soil water and input energy compared to “broadcast” tillage systems that employ a moldboard plow, disk and/or chisel plow. Zone-till implements also can be used to apply fertilizer or Telone II at one or more depths below where the seed will eventually be placed. With some systems, the beet planter can be positioned on the rear of the zone-till tool for a true one-pass tillage-planting operation.
Don Lilleboe is editor of 'The Sugarbeet Grower' and 'Gilmore Sugar Manual.'