Crop & Pest Report


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How Late can Sugarbeet be Planted? (6/2/11)

Wet conditions have significantly curtailed the number of days available for field work and planting. Growers have persevered and managed to plant most, but not all of their sugarbeet acreage to date. Growers with acres still to plant are asking how late sugarbeet can be planted and still expect an acceptable yield.

Research was done at Prosper, ND in 2009 and 2010 to compare early and late planting using different plant populations of the same variety.  In both years, higher recoverable sucrose resulted in using higher populations and planting early.  However, in both years, yields of over 20 tons per acre were achieved when planting was done as late as June 21 with harvesting on September 28 (Table 1).  When planting late, aim for higher populations of 175 to 225 plants per 100 ft of row at the six-leaf stage to get maximum yield and higher sucrose content.  Since replanting will not be possible, aim for high populations to compensate for potential stand loss due to root diseases, insect pests and wind damage.  Since the crop will be about four to five weeks late, higher populations will help to utilize the full rate of nitrogen applied earlier to get a high sucrose content crop.  Harvesting later in October, if conditions are favorable (warm days and cool nights) will help in adding tonnage and increasing sucrose content.  Of course, more care will have to be taken at topping to ensure proper defoliation.

In 2009, late planting was done on June 11 and harvest was on September 30; in 2010, late planting was on June 21 and harvest was on September 28.  The Table below shows the yield, sucrose concentration and recoverable sucrose obtained with late planted sugarbeet.  It is not known why the yield was higher in 2009 than 2010.  Hopefully, warm sunny days and cool nights will result in acceptable yields even for late planted beets.  Please consult your agriculturist to determine how late your sugarbeet planting can be for your specific factory district.

Table 1. Effect of late planting of sugarbeet

Mohamed F. R. Khan - Extension Sugarbeet Specialist


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