Department of Agronomy
Root crops increase in importance with the growth of the dairy and livestock interests.
2. The common root crops include sugar beets, mangel wurzels, carrots, rutabagas and turnips. Of these, mangels produce the highest tonnage per acre, but sugar beets produce the greatest feed value per acre.
3 A loam soil is best for root crops. Sticky clays increase the difficulty in securing a stand and in harvesting.
4. Root crops make considerable growth during the fall, thus utilizing a part of the season when most crops are dormant. This helps to make them relatively sure.
5. Manuring should be done a year or two before roots are planted and well-rotted manure is preferable as it is not likely to introduce weed seeds.
6. Deep thorough plowing is essential. Professor J. H. Shepard recommends subsoiling in addition to the plowing for sugar beets.
7. Seed should be drilled shallow in late April or early May except in the case of turnips and rutabagas which may be either drilled or broadcasted and planted as late as July 15th with some prospect of success.
8. Drill rows should be 24 inches apart and beets six inches· apart in the rows for best results, but rows may be spaced as wide as 42 inches if desirable in order to utilize ordinary corn cultivators for the cultivation. Hand thinning and weeding are essential as well as clean cultivation.
9. Roots may be stored either in cool cellars or field pits. Ventilation is essential in either case.
10. Roots are comparable to corn silage as feed crops and should be fed in connection with alfalfa or clover hay or with grass hay and concentrates rich in protein.
root crops, sugar beets, mangel-wurzels, carrots, rutagagas, turnips
South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts
Champlin, Manley and Winright, G., "Root Crop Culture in South Dakota" (1918). Research Bulletins of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (1887-2011). 180.