University of California

Reducing fertilizer in sugarbeets can protect water quality


Stephen R. Kalfka
Don Kirby
Gary R. Peterson

Authors Affiliations

S.K. Kaffka is Associate Extension Specialist, Department of Agronomy and Range Science, UC Davis; D. Kirby is Staff Research Associate, UC Intermountain Research and Extension Center, Tulelake. This research was funded in part by the California Sugarbeet Industry Research Committee; G.R. Peterson is Staff Research Associate, Department of Agronomy and Range Science, UC Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 55(3):42-48. DOI:10.3733/ca.v055n03p42. May 2001.

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The loss of nutrients from fertilizers can impair surface and ground waters. Environmentally sensitive crop management requires applying only enough fertilizer to ensure economic crop yields. We found that sugarbeets grown in soils rich in organic matter in the Upper Klamath Basin can be fertilized at very low rates and used to remove more nutrients in harvested roots than are applied as fertilizer. This in turn reduces the risk of leaching excess nutrients and may help protect surface waters in the region from additional enrichment.


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Kaffka SR, Hills FJ. Sugarbeet. In: Encyclopedia of Agricultural Science. 1994. 4:215-223.

[NRCS] USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. 1994. Soil Survey of Butte Valley-Tule Lake Area, CA:

Kalfka S, Kirby D, Peterson G. 2001. Reducing fertilizer in sugarbeets can protect water quality. Hilgardia 55(3):42-48. DOI:10.3733/ca.v055n03p42
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