ISSUE #391

391 - Variety Selection For Profit


Variety selection is a “Gold Standard” where 2001 crop profitability begins. American Crystal yields have averaged over 20 ton/acre for the last 5 years. How much has variety development contributed to increasing yields in the last 18 years?

Data from the American Crystal Sugar Company semi-commercial coded variety trials from seven locations in 2000 indicate variety impact on yield improvement has been very significant. The Crystal Seed Department included 3 varieties last sold in 1983, 1986 and 1996 in the 2000 trials. Comparing these varieties for revenue per acre shows it has improved by over $350/acre since 1983, table 1. I’m confident similar yield trends could be shown for each company selling beet seed in the Red River Valley today. Other production practice changes have also improved like weed control, plant stands, and others.

Table 1: Comparison Of Crystal 817 With Varieties From The Past

VarietyRev/Ton% of Mean*Rev/Acre% of Mean*Last Year Sold
Crystal 817 $34.81 110 $875 107 New in '00
Ultramono $29.46 93 $698 86 1996
ACH 30 $27.91 88 $598 73 1986
ACH 17 $23.25 73 $508 62 1983

Variety selection is one of the key management decisions shareholders make to impact profitability of the beet crop. Coded variety trials were space planted for the first time at all locations in 2000. The coded trial data continues to be one of a grower’s best sources of information to determine which variety to plant. American Crystal agriculturists also have the Grower Practices System database information to assist growers with variety choice decisions. The GPS database is part of the “Blue Book” reports available to all shareholders on the Internet at

Variety Selector:

The Variety Selector feature on the American Crystal Internet site uses both American Crystal coded trial data and GPS records data to assist growers with variety choice decisions. Give it a try and see how it works for you. It helps growers tailor variety selections by fields.

Seed Calculator:

The seed calculator feature on the Internet enables growers to enter information like seed size, seed spacing, field size, brand of seed and very quickly determine quantities of seed needed for each field.

Variety Selection Criteria - Growers are encouraged to review all data available to them to make the best variety choice decisions possible. 

Coded Trial Data:

  • Revenue per acre and per ton
  • Disease resistance
  • Cercospora leafspot
  • Aphanomyces root rot
  • Vigor and field emergence

Your Farm Considerations: 

  • Variety vigor versus soil type and seedbed preparation
  • Pellets versus other coatings
  • Available nitrogen versus variety sugar per ton
  • Planter type vs. seed size, spacing , and coating
  • Stand establishment success versus variety vigor and seedling emergence percentage

Grower Practices System Variety Performance Data: 

Ask your agriculturist or go to for variety performance data in:

  • Your township
  • Your piler district
  • Your factory district
  • The Red River Valley

Variety Improvements Following Quality Standard Changes In The Variety Approval System During 1999

 Rec. Sugar/TonRec. Sugar/AcreRev./Ton*Rev./Acre*Root YieldSugar ContentCercospora
Avg. of 25 Varieties Approved in 1999 317.8 7325 $37.16 $842.96 23.12 17.34 5.01
Avg. of 19 Varieties Approved in 2000+ 320.0 7367 $37.64 $853.01 23.11 17.43 4.98
Gain with 2000 Approval +2.2 +42 +$0.48 +$10.05 -.01 +.09 -.03
Previous Year Gain +1.9 +61 +$0.45 +$12.10 +.07 +.08 +.02

* Revenue values are calculated using three different payments for 1998, 1999, and 2000 (mean payment of $38).

+ Twelve new varieties were approved for test market in 2000.