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How to Protect Sugarbeet Yield at Harvest

July 13, 2016


Sugarbeet growers approaching harvest may ask themselves these two questions:

  1. How can I protect sugarbeets to minimize loss in the pile?
  2. How can I ensure that sugarbeet health and sugar content is maintained during defoliation?

Protecting roots at harvest

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

Proper defoliation

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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