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Leases For Sugar Beets

I have land in Yolo county that has made an average yield yearly of from
12 to 18 sacks of wheat and barley. A beet sugar company proposes
renting this land and plant it to sugar beets and I would prefer not to
consider any agreement of less than five years' duration. The particular
point that I would like to have you advise me on is the effect sugar
beet has upon the soil.

You certainly have good soil, and it is not strange that a sugar company
should desire to rent it for its purposes. There is, however, a great
question as to whether it would be desirable to run to beets continually
for five years. Beets make a strong draft on some components of the
soil, and it is a common experience that they should not be grown year
after year for a long period, but should take their place in a rotation,
in the course of which one or two crops of beets should be followed by a
crop of grain, and that if possible by a leguminous plant like alfalfa
or an annual legume like burr clover used for pasturage, and then to
beets again. Beets improve soil for grain, because of the deep running
of the root, and because beet culture is not profitable without deep
plowing and continuous summer cultivation. This deepens and cleans the
land to the manifest advantage of the grain crop, but still the beet
reduces the plant food in the soil and some change of crop should be
made with reference to its restoration. We would much prefer to lease it
for two years than for five years of beet growing.

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