New features on BEETcast™ prediction model will improve sugarbeet management

The improved BEETcast™ model can alert Michigan sugarbeet producers when to apply Cercospora leaf spot and Rhizoctonia root rot fungicides, and glyphosate.

BEETcast™ is sponsored by Michigan Sugar Company and consists of a network of over 50 weather stations that are strategically located in the sugarbeet growing region of Michigan and Ontario. Weather Innovations Inc. originally developed this model to help the Great Lakes sugarbeet industry better predict timely applications of fungicides for Cercospora leaf spot control. Recent modifications to BEETcast™ will now also help improve Rhizoctonia fungicide timing and glyphosate applications. By imputing specific background information and field locations, along with how a producer prefers to be contacted, alerts will be sent to growers indicating when applications should be considered.

The website has a new look with additional tools and information that will allow producers to better time pesticide applications. Because specific producer and field information is used, a sugarbeet producer will need to “create an account” that has a username and password for login. There will be no cost for this and its only purpose is maintaining privacy. Producers that create a login account will be able to input specific field information and agronomic details and produce a field map. BEETcast™ will monitor environmental conditions including air and soil temperatures, leaf wetness, rainfall and growing degree days. The model can then provide alerts for timing applications for Cercospora leaf spot, Rhizoctonia and glyphosate applications. Producers will be able to create for each field a custom alarm notification sent to them via email or text message when application timings approach.

The new tools that will aid in Rhizoctonia and glyphosate applications are average daily soil temperature at the 4” depth and a Growing Degree Day accumulator (GDD). The best fungicide timing for Rhizoctonia control is variable. Research suggests that high levels of control are usually obtained from applying fungicides when the 4” soil temperature reaches and is expected to remain above the mid 60’s°F. BEETcast™ will notify growers who input field information when the soil temperature reaches their defined alarm temperature, with the default now set at 63°F. Growers will also be able to get alerts from the GDD accumulator to aid in glyphosate applications.

Other new features include: estimated beet growth stages, site specific weather forecast, 24-hour rainfall and SPRAYcast®. The 24-hour rainfall map now updates frequently and shows real time totals. The SPRAYcast® tool predicts wind speed and spraying conditions hourly for the next three days in advance. This will give producers the best opportunity to safely apply crop protection materials.

In the past, the BEETcast™ model has been a valuable asset to the Great Lakes sugarbeet producers for controlling Cercospora leaf spot. With the recent updates, its value has been further enhanced by providing additional information for control of Rhizoctonia, weeds and other environmental conditions. Sugarbeet producers are highly encouraged to become a registered user of this site. Growers can get additional information through their local MSU Extension educator and are able to access and input information through the Internet at the Michigan Beets website.

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