Sugarbeet growers approaching harvest may ask themselves these two questions:
- How can I protect sugarbeets to minimize loss in the pile?
- How can I ensure that sugarbeet health and sugar content is maintained during defoliation?
Typical storage loss in conventional sugarbeet piles is about 1/2 lb. of sugar per ton of roots per day. Syngenta recommends the following in order to prevent storage loss:
- Examine sugarbeets while harvesting and adjust accordingly
- Avoid exposure to lifter wheels at harvest, which makes root tissue vulnerable to diseases
- Avoid overly aggressive grab rolls and elevators during harvest
- Arrange field ends so tractors and equipment don’t trample sugarbeet rows and damage roots
- Use narrow tractor tires and keep them carefully between the rows
Sugarbeets can be defoliated by flailing or scalping. The American Crystal Sugar Company offers these tips for proper defoliation:
- Scalp sugarbeets with a uniform stand
- Flail sugarbeets with uneven stands
- Avoid overly aggressive defoliating
- Protect cut sugarbeets from exposure
- Keep defoliator speeds under 3 mph
- Maintain cleanliness of harvest machinery
- Control weeds for optimal defoliation
- Don’t top sugarbeets too far ahead of harvesting
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