ISSUE #361

361 - STAND ESTABLISHMENT FOR PROFITABILITY

4-8-1999

Establishing an optimum plant population is the "foundation for success" of any profitable beet crop. Data in table 1 clearly show the effect of high plant populations on yield, quality and revenue per acre.

Table 1. Harvested Plant Population Versus Yield and Quality, RRV, 1994-1998*

Population (Plants/100' Row)Sucrose (%)SLM (%)Rec. Sucrose Ton AcreRevenue Acre ($)
(lbs.)($)
< 50 16.18 1.66 290 2538 303
50 - 63 16.51 1.63 298 3877 488
63 - 84 16.84 1.58 305 5021 640
84 - 105 17.08 1.54 311 5858 746
105 - 126 17.24 1.50 315 6472 815
126 - 147 17.33 1.48 317 7014 868
> 147 17.28 1.49 316 7687 936
Average 17.10 1.53 312 6081 765

* Plant population data is based on number and weight of beets in tare lab samples. Data prepared by Ron Ellingson.

A plant population of not less than 150 beets/100’ of row, about 35,000 plants/acre, is presently recommended. Optimum plant population benefits include:

  • high yield and quality
  • more weed competition
  • less adverse impact of bad weather
  • more revenue per acre

Possible problems to consider with excessive plant population might include:

  • difficulty in defoliation
  • increased harvest losses with small beets
  • increased storage losses with poor ventilation in piles with small beets