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560 - The 2011 Growing Season - A Step Back

Comments made regarding the 2010 crop at this time last year and future expectations indicate favorable growing season weather is really critical to success. The tremendous 2010 beet crop for all three cooperatives in the region was followed by probably the poorest crop for all three companies in the last 10 years. Mr. Kip Cullers a ten time national corn yield contest winner from Southwest Missouri stated. "I never learn as much from my success - I always learn from my failures". Lets hope that holds true for sugarbeet growers in the region this year and we learn from the 2011 challenges as we go forward.

Factors Influencing Crop Variability:

  • Very late average planting date
  • Excessive rainfall across most of the RRV in May, June and July
  • Very serious Rhizoctonia losses when not managed well
  • Very serious Aphanomyces losses when not managed well
  • Drainage management was critical to reduce water damage and root rot
  • Rainfall can be so excessive that best management plans still fail such as in Cass County in 2011
  • Yields were reduced by 2-4 tons per acre in Crookston and part of the East Grand Forks districts by an abnormally dry, late, July, August and September weather

Successful Management Strategies in 2011 were:

  • Good Rhizoctonia control was achieved with proper variety selection, at plant and post emergence fungicide applications
  • Comprehensive drainage management resulted in (1) earlier planting (2) less water damage and (3) less root rot
  • Good variety selection and lime application controlled most Aphanomyces problems quite well except in extremely wet areas of Cass and Clay counties
  • Attention to detail and use of best management practices usually reduced impact of very unfavorable weather
  • Following university nitrogen management recommendation improved crop yield and quality