Sugarbeet variety selection is a key component to maximize profitability

Sugarbeet varieties vary greatly when comparing traits for yield, quality and pest resistance.

Sugarbeet variety selection is much more complicated than simply picking the highest tonnage variety and planting it on all fields. Each variety has its own set of genetics that incorporate unique traits. Matching these traits with specific field conditions is extremely important. Utilizing field history data from grower records is the perfect place to start. It is critical to know what diseases have been present and the severity. Identifying what fields have sugarbeet cyst nematode and plant emergence issues are important. Planting a variety with the wrong traits in the wrong field can spell financial disaster.

For example, Rhizoctonia root rot alone in severe conditions can lower yields by 10 tons per acre and reduce quality. Sugarbeet cyst nematodes have been documented to lower yields up to 15 tons per acre. Other yield and quality robbers include Aphanomycetes, root aphids and Cercospora leaf spot. Some of our varieties have good genetic resistance to some of these pests while others do not. Each year, Michigan Sugar Company researchers and MSU Sugarbeet Advancement do research trials to determine the specifics of each variety. Growers should refrain from ordering varieties until research results are presented.

In December, the 2011 REACh Variety Trial Results will be printed and mailed to each grower. This 50-page research report combines all the variety data from both Michigan Sugar Company and MSU Sugarbeet Advancement. This document will take some time for growers to study, but that time spent can be very profitable. For the most complete information, growers are encouraged to attend the 2011 REACh Seed Week Meetings held December 5-9, 2011. In these three and a half-hour sessions, variety data will be presented from Michigan Sugar Company researchers, MSU Sugarbeet Advancement, and each sugarbeet seed company. All sessions start at 8:30 a.m. and end at lunch.

More information on program location for your area can be found on the Michigan Sugar Company website.

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