ÄDELHOLM 2023: SOWING
- Sowing date: 7 April 2023 (Good Friday)
- Variety: KWS Fabienna (high sugar content, nematode resistant, strong mildew score)
- Target seeding rate: ca. 115 000 / ha (ca. 5.5 per meter).
- Target sowing depth: 2-2.5cm
- Field size: 6.7 ha according to my quick Google map, but I think it is less than that. Minus a research trial, 6.27ha sown.
- Conditions: A little wetter and rushed than hoped, but pretty good.
- Issues: One row unit (of 18) lost a chain during sowing.
The field was ploughed in Autumn 2022, and harrowed twice prior to sowing (5 and 6 April). No autumn 2022 harrowing was done as by the time I realised that this was something that I should ask for, it was way too wet.
ProBeta (15-3.6-8-+), broadcast 5 April 2023. The actual rate was application was 730 kg/ha (110 kgN/ha, 26 kgP/ha, 58 kgK/ha). Placement of the fertiliser with a Väderstad Rapid was being considered, but didn’t fit in with the schedule – we would have had to wait for the soil to dry further, and there was rain in the forecast.
TIMING OF SOWING:
March was really wet, so no work was done then. In early April, there was a window of better weather. By 4 April, it was looking like a first pass with the harrow was possible within a day or so. There was rain forecast for the weekend of Easter (8-9 April), but it was decided to do what we could while we could. So the fert was spread and the first harrow pass happened on 5 April. The Easter rain disappeared from the forecast, but a wet week from 11 April was forecast. So, we went for it. A second harrow in the afternoon of the 6th, and sowing from about 12.30 on the 7th. Happy Easter!
We weren’t the first out in the district, but pretty close to it.
Writing on the 11th of April: the 8th and 9th were quite warm (15 C) and the 10th about 10 C and windy. The rain on the 11th has come and more is still forecast for the rest of the week.
We had planned for ca. 6.7 ha, but a research site was thrown in at the last minute, reducing the total area to about 6.3 ha. Pretty happy with sowing depth, although some digs found seed sitting a bit off centre and shallow. The seeds sit in and mostly under moist soil. Spacing might be a little more than hoped, putting us closer to 100 000 than 115 000. Of the 8 units we had available, we ended up with ca 1 – 1.5 left. Over 6.27 ha, this gives 103 000 – 110 000. That’s still well within the ideal range. The lost row was disappointing, but what you going to do about it…
This is my first time involved in the sowing a commercial sugar beet crop. It struck me as a pretty fragile system. All that cultivation to get the seedbed ready means it can dry out really quickly. It’s very handy we only need to sow a few hectares and that our contractor is a good bloke who uses his Easter to sow our crop. And in the end, the seed is still there and will grow with the next rain. But the issue of crusting is one that still worries me: I feel like this is something we should be able to avoid.