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Best Practices for Highest Profits in Sugarbeet (05/21/20)

The sugarbeet crop, when properly managed, can be one of the most profitable crops in our rotation in North Dakota and Minnesota. Some of the best management practices for highest sugarbeet profits are as follows:

The sugarbeet crop, when properly managed, can be one of the most profitable crops in our rotation in North Dakota and Minnesota. Some of the best management practices for highest sugarbeet profits are as follows:

Field selection: Since sugarbeet is usually the most profitable crop in the rotation, you should select your best fields for sugarbeet. Ensure there is proper drainage or else the environment will become favorable for soil-borne diseases later in the season. Prepare a good weed free seedbed and fertilize in the fall or spring based on a soil test.

Variety selection and seed protection: Select the best variety available based on the disease history of the field. When ordering seeds, make sure seeds are treated with fungicides such as Kabina, Systiva and Vibrance that will give protection against Rhizoctonia damping-off; Tachigaren that will give protection against Aphanomyces damping-off; and insecticidal seed treatments that will control common insects such as sugarbeet root maggot and wireworms. Fields with a history of sugarbeet root maggot will also need a granular insecticide at planting as well as protection just before peak fly activity.

Seed spacing and population: Plant seeds about 4 1/2 to 4 5/8 inches apart to get about 175 to 200 evenly spaced plants per 100 ft of row.

Weed Control: There are limited options for weed control in sugarbeet so one has to be careful and strategic. Since all growers use crop rotation, use herbicides that are more available in rotating crops to control herbicide resistant weeds. In the sugarbeet crop, start weed control early – start with a weed free seedbed, 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 and weed seed population as low as possible.

Managing Rhizoctonia: For fields with a history of Rhizoctonia, use a Rhizoctonia resistant variety and apply azoxystrobin at planting and or/ at the 4- to 6-leaf stage just before a rainfall.

Managing Cercospora leaf spot: After row-closure, fields should be scouted and fungicide mixtures applied starting at first symptoms or when the disease is first reported in the factory district. Growers should 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.

Proper harvest: Set up harvester to ensure all beets are harvested. Be prepared to harvest and transport a bumper 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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