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Best Management Practices for Highest Returns in Sugarbeet (05/06/21)

Select your best fields for sugarbeet with highest preference going to a previous crop of wheat. Ensure there is proper drainage or else the environment will be favorable for soil-borne diseases later in the season. Prepare a friable, weed-free seedbed and fertilize in the fall or spring based on a soil test.

Select your best fields for sugarbeet with highest preference going to a previous crop of wheat. Ensure there is proper drainage or else the environment will be favorable for soil-borne diseases later in the season. Prepare a friable, weed-free seedbed and fertilize in the fall or spring based on a soil test.

Select seed varieties with high recoverable sucrose potential that is suitable for your production area. When ordering seeds, make sure seeds are treated with fungicides such as Kabina, Systiva and Vibrance that will give protection against Rhizoctonia damping-off. Add an application of Tachigaren which is an inexpensive insurance against Aphanomyces damping-off. Most seeds include insecticidal seed treatments that will control common insect pests such as sugarbeet root maggot and wireworms. Fields in an area with a history of sugarbeet root maggot will also need a granular insecticide at planting as well as protection just before peak fly activity.

Plant seeds about 4  to 4 5/8 inches apart to get about 175 to 200 evenly spaced plants per 100 ft of 22 inch rows; plant closer in 30 inch rows.

Weed control options are somewhat limited in sugarbeet so has to be careful and strategic. Since all growers use crop rotation, it is recommended to use herbicides that are more available in rotating crops such as wheat, corn and soybean to control herbicide resistant weeds. In the sugarbeet crop, start weed control early – start with a weed free seed bed, use a pre-emergent or soil incorporated herbicide where possible. For post emergent herbicide applications, start when weeds are small and continue until row closure; if necessary,  use mechanical weed control and/or labor to keep the weed seed population as low as possible.

Select varieties that will perform well in fields with a known cropping history. For fields with a history of Rhizoctonia, use a Rhizoctonia resistant variety and apply fungicides such as azoxystrobin in a timely manner to provide early season protection. After row-closure, fields should be scouted for Cercospora leaf spot (CLS) since the population of the causal agent, Cercospora beticola, is very high. Apply fungicide mixtures starting at first symptoms or when the disease is first reported in the factory district. It is best to mix fungicides with two modes of action and apply in 20 gallons of water per acre at 14 day intervals in dry conditions and at 10 to 12 day intervals during wet conditions. The crop should be protected from CLS until harvest starting in October. By following best management practices, growers should prepared to harvest a high yielding and high quality sugarbeet crop.

 

Mohamed Khan

Extension Sugarbeet Specialist

NDSU & U of MN

701-231-8596

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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