The influence of non-chemical weed control methods on sugar beet productivity and quality parameters
Keywords: sugar beet, weed control methods, living mulch, productivity, quality
AbstractA long-term stationary field experiment was carried out at the Experimental Station of Aleksandras Stulginskis University (Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy since 2019) in 2017. The following sustainable weed control methods were examined: 1) inter-row loosening (control treatment); 2) inter-row cutting and mulching with weeds; 3) inter-row cutting and mulching with Persian clover; 4) inter-row cutting and mulching with white mustards; 5) interrow cutting and mulching with spring barley. The alternatives to weed control often reduced the yields of sugar beet roots significantly, however, when mulching with white mustard the decrease in fertility was not essential. Non-chemical weed control measures in most cases had an insignificant effect on the parameters of sugar beet quality – the content of Na, K and alpha-amino N. The most significant sugar content (16.34 and 16.26%) was found in sugar beets, which were grown applying interrow mulch of spring barley and weed (P < 0.05). Although insignificant, but the largest index of sugar beet leaf area was found in the experimental plots, where inter-row cutting out and mulching with white mustard were applied. Comparing non-chemical weed control systems, the highest amount of white (crystalline) sugar (4.96 ha–1) was derived from the sugar beet that was grown using white mustard mulch.