ISSUE 12   July 30, 2008


The sugarbeet crop is progressing rapidly with the current warm conditions. The American Crystal Sugar Company is expecting a better than average sugar beet crop – an average crop is one that will yield 20 tons per acre with an 18% sugar content. In 2006 and 2007, growers at American Crystal had record yields. If the current conditions – warm, sunny, with timely rainfall – continue, growers should have another bumper crop since the crop is good to excellent in most areas. Growers at the Minn-Dak factory district got an early start, had snow in April, but warmed up in July resulting in good crop growth. Growers in the eastern part at Southern Minnesota Cooperative were delayed at planting because of wet conditions but overall, the sugarbeet crop is also looking good. Growers need a good sugarbeet crop to make a profit using high cost agricultural inputs.

There have been few reports of Aphanomyces and Rhizoctonia root rot in the Red River Valley. However, Rhizoctonia root rot was more widely observed in Southern Minnesota. More research will be needed to address this problem, and Rhizoctonia tolerant varieties will have to be used more widely in the Southern Minnesota Factory District. At the Moorhead Factory District, Fusarium yellows is starting to rear its ugly head. Fusarium yellows is emerging as a deadly disease with no chemical control currently available. Growers must use Fusarium yellows resistant varieties in fields with a history of the disease.

About 50% of the sugarbeet acreage at American Crystal and Minn-Dak Cooperative, and 15% of the acreage at Southern Minnesota were planted to Roundup Ready sugarbeet. Weed control in the Roundup Ready sugarbeet is excellent. Growers have done a good job at weed control in the conventional sugarbeet as well. In fields where there are some late emerging weeds because of poor canopy coverage, hand-pulling or the use of a ‘stalk chopper’ or a ‘modified sickle-bar’ will make harvesting much easier.

Mohamed Khan
Extension Sugarbeet Specialist
NDSU and University of Minnesota



NDSU field scouts surveyed 54 wheat fields and 28 barley fields last week. The average growth stage of the wheat fields surveyed was early soft dough, and the average growth stage of barley fields surveyed was mid-dough.

In wheat, leaf rust was observed in 6 of the 54 fields, with severities averaging 6%. The positive fields were in the Southeast and Central districts. Fourteen of the 54 fields surveyed show symptoms of scab (Fusarium head blight). The average field severity in these fields was low, at 1.4%, and these fields were observed in the southeast, east-central and central districts.

Barley net blotch continues to be the most common disease observed in barley, in 50% of the fields, and primarily in the northeast and north central regions. Average severity in symptomatic fields was 7.7%. Three barley fields showed loose smut symptoms, with an average incidence of 10% tillers infected. No scab symptoms were reported in barley.



The USDA Cereal Disease Lab reports that during the week ending July 25th, high levels of stem rust were found on the susceptible spring wheat cultivar Baart at experiment stations in WI and MN. This cultivar is used as a check cultivar to detect stem rust in a region, and is not grown as a commercial cultivar.

In ND, we do not grow susceptible spring wheats or durum wheats, but a few winter wheat cultivars and barley cultivars grown generally are susceptible to stem rust. We have not detected stem rust in any of our commercial wheat or barley fields surveyed, but we did detect stem rust in a susceptible winter wheat cultivar, Radiant, in plots near Lisbon, ND. A sample of that detection was sent to the USDA lab for race confirmation. Last year, a similar detection resulted in identification of a stem rust race common in the US. The following picture of stem rust was taken on a susceptible barley line in plots at Fargo last week.

Stem rust on barley
Stem rust on barley; susceptible barley line at Fargo, July 21.

Marcia McMullen
Extension Plant Pathologist

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