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How Long Can Sugarbeet Survive Under Flooded Conditions? (06/11/20)

Most of the sugarbeet production areas in the Red River Valley received varying amounts of rainfall over the past three days (June 6 through 8).

Most of the sugarbeet production areas in the Red River Valley received varying amounts of rainfall over the past three days (June 6 through 8). In a few areas, such as Humboldt, St. Thomas and Kennedy, 3.84 to 5.21’’ of rainfall were recorded resulting in standing water in some fields. As a result, some growers are wondering how long can sugarbeet at seed, cotyledonary, 2-, 4- and 6-leaf stages be in flooded conditions and survive. We know from experience that sugarbeet can tolerate flooded conditions better than most other crops. However, there is little research data to provide definitive answers. Research was done at NDSU greenhouse to determine how long various stages of potted sugarbeet grown in Fargo clay soil could be in flooded conditions and survive. The research indicated (data shown below) that larger beets (4-leaf and 6-leaf) survived well even after 96 hr (4 days). Seedling emergence was good after the soil was covered with water for 24 and 48 hr and was not significantly different from emergence under ideal conditions. However, emergence decreased significantly after 72 and 96 hr of flooding. Cotyledonary beets were susceptible to flooding with about 50% survival. Two-leaf stage beets were able to withstand 24 hr of flooding but survivorship decreased as the duration of flooding increased. It is possible that in fields, plants may survive longer if the water is moving, and in cooler conditions compared to the greenhouse temperature that ranged from 75 to 82° F.

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Mohamed Khan

Extension Sugarbeet Specialist

NDSU & U of MN

218-790-8596

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