Sugarbeet variety selection sets the foundation for higher profitability

Consider yield and sugar potential when selecting sugarbeet varieties, but do not underestimate the importance of disease and pest resistance.

Maximizing recoverable white sugar per acre (RWSA) involves more than selecting the highest tonnage variety and planting it in every sugarbeet field. Varieties vary greatly in sugar content, pest resistance and emergence. Some varieties are considered high maintenance and will require additional crop protection materials to maximize RWSA. Criteria for variety selection for individual fields should include specific issues that have been encountered in the past. Every field can vary greatly in type of disease and nematode pressure.

Observations in the 2013 variety trials conducted by Michigan State University Extension revealed a few issues. Sugarbeet cyst nematodes were identified in half of our trials. This pest can significantly reduce yield and quality. All growers should participate in the Michigan Sugar Nematode Testing Program for testing of all sugarbeet fields. Variety selection is critical in managing the impacts of this pest.

Environmental conditions ranging from excess moisture to drought also has an impact on disease and insect pressure. Heavy early season rain this spring increased the incidence of Aphanomycetes. This disease causes seedling plant death and scaring of roots at harvest. Contrary to wetness, mid- to late summer drought in 2013 allowed root aphids to flourish and Rhizoctonia was also evident, but appeared to be at lower levels than previous years.

Growers are encouraged to attend the 2013 REACh Sugarbeet Seed Week meetings. This is the best source of current variety testing conducted by Michigan Sugar Company, Sugarbeet Advancement and individual seed companies. See below for dates and locations. The programs will be held Dec. 2-6, 2013, in five locations in the growing region. In these three and half-hour sessions, variety yield data and variety traits will be presented. All programs run from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and include a complimentary lunch.

Dec. 2, 2013 – Mt. Pleasant
Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, 6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
8:30 a.m. – Program
Noon – Lunch

Dec. 3, 2013 – Sebewaing
Bay Shore Camp, 450 N. Miller St., Sebewaing, MI 48759-0624
8:30 a.m. – Program
Noon – Lunch

Dec. 4, 2013 – Bay City
Bay Valley, 2470 Old Bridge Rd., Bay City, MI 48706
8:30 a.m. – Program
Noon – Lunch

Dec. 5, 2013 – Ubly
Ubly Heights Golf Course, 2409 East Atwater Rd., Ubly, MI 48475
8:30 a.m. – Program
Noon – Lunch

Dec. 6, 2013 – Ontario, Canada
Country View Golf Course, 25393 Hwy. 40, Dover Center, Ontario, Canada NOP 1LO
8:30 a.m. – Program
Noon – Lunch

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