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Leases For Sugar Beets

Categories: Vegetable Growing

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, a
d 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.