NDSU Crop and Pest Report

ISSUE 2  May 9, 2002



In the 2002 growing season, American Crystal Sugar Company (ACSC) plan to plant 500,000 acres, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative (Minn-Dak) 112,000 acres, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC) 120,000 acres, and growers in western North Dakota 15,000 acres to be processed in Sidney, Montana. This gives a total of 747,000 acres of sugarbeet for Minnesota and North Dakota for 2002. As of May 6, ACSC had planted 230,000 acres (46%), Minn-Dak 100,800 (90%), SMBSC 110,000 (92%), and western North Dakota growers 14,500 acres (97%).



Max. recoverable sugar per ton and per acre correlates well with high plant populations. A plant population of 150 beets per 100 foot of 22 inch wide row at harvest is ideal for good yields of high quality sugarbeet. On average, only 64% of the total number of seeds planted will result in harvestable sugarbeet. About 26% of the seeds are lost due to non-emergence and further 10% in plants are lost from emergence to harvest. Do not ‘cut cost’ by reducing the amount of seed required to provide an optimum plant population. Remember, it is better to have excess plants that can be ‘thinned’ rather than to wish you had planted more seeds. See page 18 of your production guide for the number of seeds to be planted per acre based on your seed size and spacing. Please note that a plant population of less than 150 beets per 100 foot of row (35,560 plants/A) will not only reduce yield, but it will also result in a more costly weed control program.



Soil temperature in the seed placement zone must be at least 37.4EF or greater to initiate germination. Sugarbeet is a relatively cold tolerant plant that will germinate and emerge over a wide temperature range given adequate soil water. Actual seed zone temperature and duration of optimum or sub-optimum temperatures will affect emergence rate and uniformity. The following table gives approximate days to emergence at different soil temperature ranges.

Soil Temperature (EF)

Days to Emergence


21 days or more


10-21 days


7-12 days


5-7 days



Please note that the fertilizer recommendations for sugarbeet was changed for Minnesota and North Dakota. The new recommendations are on pages 2-7 of the 2002 Sugarbeet Production Guide. The recommendations are the same for the American Crystal Sugar Company, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative and Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative. One-hundred (100) lb/A of soil N plus fertilizer N is needed in the 0-2 foot depth soil profile and 130 lb/A for the 0-4 foot depth soil profile. Sixty-five (65) lb/A of N is required in the 0-2 foot depth soil profile early in the season to maximize crop growth, yield and quality. Apply P and K fertilizer based on your soil test report using our recommendation found on pages 4-6 of the production guide. Many growers are using starter fertilizer at planting. DO NOT apply more than 5 lb/A of salts (N + K2O) in direct contact with seeds since this will adversely affect emergence and plant stand.

Mohamed Khan
Extension Sugarbeet Specialist

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