Strip tillage could help sugar beet growers reduce establishment costs and improve biodiversity while maintaining profitability, according to The Arable Group (TAG).

A trial at their Morley site in Norfolk is investigating the practicalities of using a one-row Yetter strip cultivator and initial results suggested strip tillage should be successful, said TAG’s Jim Orson.

Because you were only cultivating a narrow strip where the crop was drilled, there were potentially large fuel savings and reduced problems with soil erosion by wind and rain, he said.

“One concern was whether plants would get sufficient moisture, but so far we’ve seen no difference between the strip-tilled and ploughed plots.”

Crop establishment was also very similar to the ploughed plots, despite conditions being very dry during drilling, added Nathan Morris, who is managing the trial.