Source: UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Feb 4, 1998
Project End Date
Jan 31, 2004
Grant Year
Project Director
Smith, J. A.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Non Technical Summary
Technological advances in field equipment are needed to reduce crop production costs and improve quality of harvested crop. This project will develop equipment modifications and evaluate equipment effectiveness by measuring response of crop yield, quality, and production efficiency.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
1. Investigate the response of sugarbeet root yield to the accuracy of plant spacing within row. 2. Develop equipment modifications to remove soil from the combine during harvest of dry edible beans. 3. Determine the relationship of inulin content and inulin chain length with chicory plant population and row spacing. 4. Based on outcome of Objective 1, determine field plant spacing capability of the newest European sugarbeet planters and compare to current U.S. models. 5. Evaluate adjustments, accessories, and operating practices of newest model Case-IH combine for seedcoat damage to dry edible bean seed. 6. Based on outcome of Objective 3, compare seedbed preparation systems, planter model, and field speed for maximum emergence and plant spacing accuracy for planting chicory. 7. Evaluate storage systems for chicory roots to extend the processing period.
Project Methods
Objective 1: A 3 year field study will include 6 treatments of in-row spacing inaccuracy in each of 2 sugarbeet populations. Treatments will range from consistent spacing to close spacings with large gaps. Objective 2: A full scale model of a combine clean grain cross auger and elevator will be assembled in the lab. Combinations of auger speed, auger design, screen design, and auger to screen clearance will be evaluated for soil elimination and seed damage. Objective 3: A 3 year field plot study will include two chicory varieties in all combinations of 3 row spacings and 4 plant populations to examine chicory root yield and inulin content. Objective 4: Procedures will be developed and will be based primarily on results from Objectives 1 and 3.

Progress 02/04/98 to 01/31/04

Sugarbeet Research: Sugarbeet planters have been compared in the field for plant spacing accuracy with several field speeds and seed coating types. There were differences among planter models, lower field speed improved plant spacing accuracy, and the round, uniform shape of a 4M pellet improved plant spacing accuracy compared to other seed coating types. Field studies were conducted comparing a range of plant spacing accuracy patterns within the same plant population for influence on yield. Minor deviations from consistent plant spacing were not shown to influence sugarbeet yield, but the most inconsistent plant spacing patterns did reduce sugarbeet yield. Dry Edible Bean Research: Adjustments and optional equipment were evaluated to minimize mechanical seed damage within the combine for Deere conventional cylinder and STS model series. Specific adjustments and accessories did make a difference in seed damage at harvest. Preliminary studies examined combine header equipment and crop production practices to reduce header harvest loss for direct harvest of Great Northern and Pinto bean market classes. Chicory Research: Field equipment systems were studied for production of chicory. Volunteer chicory plants in the crop year following chicory have been a problem. Field harvest loss has been measured and the roots initiating the volunteer chicory have been excavated and characterized. The volunteer chicory problem appears to be more related to the high number of small root parts lost during harvest and not caused by a large mass of harvest loss.

Results from this project have made an impact on the regional sugarbeet, dry edible bean, and chicory industries in the following ways: Sugarbeet producers are making better selection of planters and are taking their planters to planter clinics for improved plant spacing accuracy. Combine operators are using recommendations for combine adjustments and setup to reduce seed damage during harvest. Chicory harvest loss data results have shown that the volunteer chicory problem is not primarily caused by poor harvester performance but instead by the many unavoidable small root parts left in the soil.


  • Wilson, R.G., J.A. Smith, and C.D. Yonts. 2004. Chicory root yield and carbohydrate composition is influenced by cultivar selection, planting, and harvest date. Crop Science 44:3, 748-752.
  • Wilson, R.G., J.A. Smith, and C.D. Yonts. 2004. Evaluation of Herbicides for Weed Control in Chicory (Chicorium intybus). Weed Technology 18:3, 540-544.

Progress 10/01/02 to 09/30/03

Sugarbeet Research: Compared response of sugarbeets grown in 18 in. row spacing to 30 in. row spacing in replicated field strips. Measured soil water use, soil temperatures, weed population, and root yield; and observed practical production issues of planting and harvesting. The 18 in. rows produced higher root yield and sugar content than the 30 in. rows. Planting, cultivating, and harvesting of the 18 in. rows required increased driving skills but commercially available equipment performed satisfactorily. Dry Edible Bean Research: Established 25 acres of dry edible beans under a pivot irrigation system in 15 in. row spacing intended for direct harvest as a preliminary year of a multi-year project to examine the performance of narrow row, direct harvest Great Northern production in Nebraska. Examined three combine header systems for direct harvest. The best direct harvest system examined had 3.5 bu/A harvest loss, compared to a typical 1.5 bu/A for conventional harvest with 30 in. row spacing. Weed control, tillage systems to minimize soil compaction, and harvest loss are practical issues with narrow row/direct harvest Great Northern Beans that require further work. Chicory Research: Volunteer chicory in the year following the chicory crop remains a production problem with chicory in Nebraska. Evaluated the root size and position in the soil that caused late season volunteer chicory in the year following chicory harvest. This late season volunteer chicory was primarily caused by root parts broken from the harvested root but left intact in the soil as deep as 13 in. Developed a machine to compare lifting wheel configuration of the chicory harvester to reduce chicory harvest loss and broken root tails. Observations indicated that lifter wheel design, wheel wear, and pinch point position are much more important for lifting chicory roots than sugarbeet roots.

The 1.5 to 3.0 ton/A root yield increase and improved late season weed control of narrow row sugarbeets compared to 30 in. rows found in the narrow row sugarbeet project have caused some growers to change from the typical 30 in. row spacing to a narrower row spacing. Information on broken root tails that cause volunteer chicory growth, and better understanding of harvester lifter wheel performance to reduce root breakage, was used to improve the chicory harvester performance for the 2003 chicory crop and greatly reduce harvest loss.


  • Smith, J.A., R.G. Wilson, G.D. Binford, and C.D. Yonts. 2002. Tillage systems for improved emergence and yield of sugarbeets. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 18(6): 667-672.
  • Smith, J., R. Gatch, K. Palm. 2003. Plant spacing accuracy of sugarbeet planter models and of options within planter models. Proceedings 1st Joint IIRB-ASSBT Congress, San Antonio, TX, Feb. 27-Mar. 1, 2003. Pgs 97-108.
  • Smith, J., R. Gatch and K. Palm. 2003. Plant spacing accuracy of sugarbeet planter models and of options within planter models. International Sugar Journal 105 (1256):350-357.

Progress 10/01/01 to 09/30/02

A field experiment was conducted to compare six seed tube configurations of the Deere MaxEmerge 2 sugarbeet planter for plant spacing accuracy within the row. Preliminary examination of seed spacing for these seed tubes on a laboratory planter test stand suggested that seed tube selection will make substantial difference in plant spacing accuracy in the field. Plant spacing data will be analyzed for differences among seed tubes, two field speeds, and two sugarbeet seed types. Dry edible bean seed of the same variety harvested with the same combine with same settings and with similar seed moisture content appears to have different seed mechanical damage caused within the combine when harvested from different fields. A study was designed to examine susceptibility to mechanical damage within the combine of bean seed of the same variety, but grown in different fields by different growers. Unthreshed bean samples were collected by hand from grower fields prior to harvest of specific varieties to determine if there are field production factors in addition to the combine that contribute to different levels of seed damage. A six month faculty sabbatical was completed in 2002 with a major combine manufacturer to study combine performance in edible crops requiring low seed mechanical damage, and methodology to test combines for seed mechanical damage.

When analyzed, the planter seed tube study will provide planter operators with information to determine which seed tube is best for particular applications, which will improve sugarbeet plant spacing. Seed damage susceptibility data from the bean seed project will help the dry bean industry focus on correct parameters to minimize seed damage which occurs during the harvest process.


  • Yonts, C.D., J.A. Smith and R.G. Wilson. 2002. Evaluation of cover crop system for sugarbeet production under furrow irrigation. J. of Sugar Beet Res. 39(1-2):25-35.
  • Wilson, R.G. and J.A. Smith. 2002. Influence of harvest-aid herbicides on dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) desiccation, seed yield, and quality. Weed Technology 16:109-115.
  • Harveson, R.M., G.L. Hein, J.A. Smith, R.G. Wilson, and C.D. Yonts. 2002. An integrated approach to cultivar evaluation and selection for improving sugar beet profitability - A successful case study for the central high plains. Plant Disease 86(3):192-204.
  • Stebbing, J.A., R.G. Wilson, A.R. Martin, and J.A. Smith. 2000. Row spacing, redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) density, and sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris) cultivar effects on sugarbeet development. J. of Sugar Beet Res. 37(2):1-21.
  • Wilson, R.G., J.A. Smith, S.D. Miller, and K.J. Fornstrom. 2001. Wind erosion control. Sugarbeet production guide. Central High Plains Dry Bean and Beet Regional Group. NU Cooperative Extension EC01-156. Pp 37-42.
  • Yonts, C.D., J.A. Smith, and R.G. Wilson. 2001. Planting. Sugarbeet production guide. Central High Plains Dry Bean and Beet Regional Group. NU Cooperative Extension EC01-156. Pp 43-74.
  • Smith, J.A. 2001. Sugarbeet Harvest. Sugarbeet production guide. Central High Plains Dry Bean and Beet Regional Group. NU Cooperative Extension EC01-156. Pp 179-188.
  • Panning, J.W., M.F. Kocher, J.A. Smith, and S.D. Kachman. 2000. Laboratory and field testing of seed spacing uniformity for sugarbeet planters. APPLIED ENGINEERING in AGRICULTURE 16(1):7-13.
  • Smith, J.A., L.W. Panella, and C.D. Yonts. 2001. Seed and varieties. Sugarbeet production guide. Central High Plains Dry Bean and Beet Regional Group. NU Cooperative Extension EC01-156. Pp 9-20.
  • Smith, J.A. 2001. Tillage and seedbed preparation. Sugarbeet production guide. Central High Plains Dry Bean and Beet Regional Group. NU Cooperative Extension EC01-156. Pp 23-36

Progress 10/01/00 to 09/30/01

A field test compared combines for mechanical damage to dry bean seed which occurs within the combine during harvest. The study evaluated two popular, current design, multi-crop combines, three dry bean specialty combines, and one multi-crop combine modified by the University of Nebraska. Each combine was replicated four times in three different dry bean fields. The specialty combines generally had the lowest mechanical seed damage compared to the multi-crop combines, and the modified multi-crop combine has less damage than the unmodified multi-crop combines. A field study compared five sugarbeet planters, two seed coating types, and two field speeds for sugarbeet plant spacing accuracy. One precision, European-style, sugarbeet planter had substantially better plant spacing accuracy than the U.S.-style multi-crop planters. Pelleted sugarbeet seed provided better plant spacing accuracy than unpelleted seed. Three mph field speed provided better plant spacing accuracy than five mph. Seed drop tube options on one planter provided differences in plant spacing accuracy. An implement was developed for the unique tillage operation for preparation of seedbed for shallow planted chicory seed. A commercial sugarbeet harvester was modified and tested for harvesting chicory roots.

Growers and equipment industry are using the results from the dry bean combine study and sugarbeet planter study to make decisions on purchase and design of sugarbeet planters and combines for harvest of dry edible beans. A $2.5 million chicory root drying facility has been constructed by a private corporation in Scottsbluff, NE in 2001 to process an initial 900 acres of chicory in 2001. This facility will employ 30 persons. Chicory production is expected to expand to 2500 acres in 2002.


  • Smith, J.A. 2001. Reduce harvesting and handling losses. From the Ground Up Agronomy News, C.S.U. Cooperative Extension Publication, Vol. 21(3):7-9.
  • Smith, J.A. 2001. Use your combine effectively. The Bean Bag, Vol. 19(3):3.
  • Smith, J.A. 2001. Harvest Tips. The Bean Bag, Vol. 19(2):1, 6-7.
  • Smith, J.A., R.G. Wilson, C.D. Yonts, G.L. Hein, and R.M. Harveson. 2001. 2000 University of Nebraska Sugarbeet Variety Performance Trial. PHREC Publication No. 00-06. University of Nebraska, Scottsbluff, NE 69361.
  • Smith, J.A., C.D. Yonts, R.G. Wilson, G.L. Hein, R.M. Harveson, and K.L. Palm. 2001. Field emergence of sugarbeet varieties and relationship to laboratory germination. Proceedings from 31st Biennial Meeting of ASSBT, Vancouver, B.C., Pgs 96-97.
  • Yonts, C.D., J.A. Smith, R.G. Wilson, G.L. Hein, R.M. Harveson, and K.L. Palm. 2001. Regional sugarbeet variety trial. Proceedings from 31st Biennial Meeting of ASSBT, Vancouver, B.C. , Pg. 98.
  • Harveson, R.M., G.L Hein, J.A. Smith, R.G. Wilson, and C.D. Yonts. 2001. Response of sugarbeet cultivars to diseases in the Central High Plains. Proceedings from 31st Biennial Meeting of ASSBT, Vancouver, B.C., Pg. 200.
  • Hein, G.L, R.M. Harveson, J.A. Smith, R.G. Wilson, and C. D. Yonts. 2001. Varietal resistance to sugarbeet root aphid. Proceedings from 31st Biennial Meeting of ASSBT, Vancouver, B.C., Pgs. 202-206.
  • Wilson, R., J. Smith, D. Yonts, and C. Hibberd. 1999. Chicory Production in Nebraska (USA) for Inulin Processing. p. 13-24 (invited). In: A. Fuchs, and A. Van Laere (eds). Proc. Seventh Seminar on Inulin, January 22-23, 1998, Leuven, Belgium. CRF-EFA, The Hague.
  • Wilson, R., B. Desprez, J. Smith, and D. Yonts. 2000. Effect of drying on the carbohydrate composition of chicory roots. p. 14-21 (invited). In: A. Fuchs (ed). Proc. Eighth Seminar on Inulin, July 1-2, 1999, Lille, France.

Progress 10/01/99 to 09/30/00

A laboratory test was conducted using actual combine components for the clean grain cross auger and associated screen, and the clean grain elevator to determine factors that influence dry edible bean seed damage and dry soil removal within this section of a multi-crop combine. The primary factor tested that influenced seed damage was rotational speed of the auger. Reducing auger rotational speed from the standard 400 rpm to 200 rpm statistically reduced seed damage. Clearance between the auger and screen was the major factor for soil removal. Year 2000 was the third year of a study to determine field emergence of popular sugarbeet varieties. Forty two varieties were planted in six grower fields in Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. There were large differences in field emergence among varieties, whether caused by genetic potential or seed quality. Standard laboratory germination tests on the seed indicated this laboratory test can predict ranking of varieties for field emergence with only fair success. A variety, or a seed lot, that had relatively low field emergence also had relatively low laboratory germination. Field emergence of sugarbeet varieties was studied to identify planting issues most critical for stand establishment. Twenty acres of chicory were raised for harvest of the roots in the late fall of 2000. These roots will be processed with prototype equipment to further evaluate the processing system and the suitability of the crop raised in Nebraska for the final product.

Results from the field emergence study of sugarbeet varieties show that growers must use field emergence as one important factor when selecting varieties. This new information has caused seed suppliers to improve quality of seed sold to growers. The data from the combine clean grain cross auger study is being used by combine manufacturers to improve design of new combine models and to offer combine kits for dry edible bean harvest.


  • Stebbing, J.A., R.G. Wilson, A.R. Martin, and J.A. Smith. 2000. Row spacing, redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) density, and sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris) cultivar effects on sugarbeet development. J. of Sugar Beet Res. 37(2):1-21.
  • Panning, J.W., M.F. Kocher, J.A. Smith, and S.D. Kachman. 2000. Laboratory and field testing of seed spacing uniformity for sugarbeet planters. APPLIED ENGINEERING in AGRICULTURE 16(1):7-13.
  • Yonts, C.D., J.A. Smith, and R.G. Wilson. 1999. Effect of seed type, planter type and depth of planting on sugarbeet emergence. J. of Sugar Beet Res. 36(4):1-10.
  • Yonts, C.D., R.G. Wilson, and J.A. Smith. 1999. Influence of planting date on stand, yield, and quality of sugarbeet. J. of Sugar Beet Res. 36(3):1-14.
  • Smith, J.A., C.D. Yonts, and K.L. Palm. 1999. Field loss from sugarbeet harvest operations. APPLIED ENGINEERING in AGRICULTURE 15(6):627-631.

Progress 10/01/98 to 09/30/99

Objectives of this project were addressed by three field projects during 1999. 1) Data from three years of field studies was analyzed to determine the effect of in-row spacing accuracy on yield of sugarbeet. Very minor spacing inaccuracy or occasional short gaps between plants do not have a measurable impact on sugarbeet yield. More frequent large gaps between plants and general spacing irregularity do decrease yield, even if general field plant population is correct. 2) Laboratory and field studies were conducted to evaluate combinations of screen hole size, bristle auger flighting, and spacing between auger and screen to eliminate loose soil and minimize seed damage within a combine clean grain cross auger assembly during edible bean harvest. Preliminary evaluation of the field data indicates that of the factors evaluated, the spacing between the auger and screen is very important for quantity of soil removed and for seed damage. Depending on bean seed size and soil moisture content, if this spacing is too large the screen will plug and no soil will be eliminated. If the spacing is too small, excessive bean seed will be crushed. 3) Ten acres of chicory were raised for processing in the fall of 1999 to determine suitability of the crop for the end product. Previously evaluated production practices including seeding depth, row spacing, plant population, and variety were incorporated into the growing practices. Quality of the processed product will determine suitability of the production system.

The sugarbeet spacing accuracy study suggests that accurate planters and other production practices that minimize large gaps between plants are important to maximize sugarbeet yield. Combines can be better equipped to eliminate much of the inherent soil from the combine and not deliver to the bean purchaser who must find a way to dispose the soil. Production practices are being finalized that will allow quality chicory to be grown in the U.S. to supply the U.S. demand that is currently being imported from Europe.


  • Lan, Y., M.F. Kocher, and J.A. Smith. 1999. Opto-electronic sensor system for laboratory measurement of planter seed spacing with small seeds. J. Agric. Engng Res. 72, 119-127.
  • Kocher, M.F., Y. Lan. C. Chen, and J.A. Smith. 1998. Opto-electronic sensor system for rapid evaluation of planter seed spacing uniformity. Transactions of the ASAE 41(1):237-245.

Progress 02/04/98 to 09/30/98

Three field studies were conducted during the 1998 cropping season to address the objectives of this project. 1) The effect of accuracy of in-row spacing of sugarbeet plants was examined with an experiment of six in-row spacing patterns, two plant populations, and two planting dates. Plots were harvested for sugarbeet yield. 2) A Deere model 9500 combine was modified to include a bristle brush clean grain cross auger with variable rotational speed, two types of screens below the auger, and adjustable spacing between the auger and screen. Soil was collected below the auger screen and bean samples were collected to evaluate seed damage. Data were collected in three grower fields to determine the amount of soil that could be eliminated from the combine with this modified clean grain cross auger arrangement. 3) Chicory was planted in three row spacings and four plant populations with two varieties to examine the root yield and inulin chain length response. Data are currently being analyzed from all three experiments.



  • No publications reported this period