ISSUE #414

ISSUE #414 Cost Saving Ideas - Do Any Fit Your 2002 Operation?


Wise use of inputs have the potential to reduce production costs of the 2002 sugarbeet crop by $10, $20, $30 or more per acre. Carefully review each production practice decision to determine if it can be changed without risk of decreasing crop yield and quality.

Fertility Management

  • Reduce N use in accordance with the revised NDSU/U of MN recommendation.

FACT: American Crystal Sugar Company Grower Practice System records indicate nitrogen use rates are declining.

 % of Acres Reported
N Use (lbs.)199920002001
0-90 1.8 2.0 2.7
91-110 2.6 5.4 10.6
111-130 17.9 27.4 35.7
131-150 37.9 38.7 31.0
151+ 39.8 26.6 20.2
  • Use starter fertilizer alone or with reduced broadcast P rates.

FACT: NDSU production practice survey shows nearly 40% of American Crystal Sugar Company shareholders used starter fertilizer in 2001 to save $3-10 per acre in P cost.

  • Use satellite imagery to reduce N for the crop following sugarbeets in rotation and improve future sugarbeet crop quality.

FACT: Nearly 91% of growers using this technology were satisfied with the results in 2001 based on NDSU survey results.

  • Don’t spend money on unproven non-conventional products – salesmen are hard at work promoting their products.

Weed Control 

  • Band the microrates and realize $25 to $35/acre savings if weed control is maintained. RISK – lost yield if poor weed control results.

FACT: In 2001 41% of all herbicides used were banded based on NDSU survey.

Substitute harrowing or rotary hoeing for more costly chemical weed control if conditions are right.

FACT: In Minnesota and North Dakota in 2001, 52% of all acres were rotary hoed and 12% were harrowed. RISK – don’t lower plant population below recommended levels.

  • Reduce cultivations by one pass. Many growers did this very successfully last year, especially with broadcast microrates.

FACT: In 2001 only 16% of the American Crystal Sugar Company acreage was cultivated more than twice.

  • Selectively use Stinger in microrates. It may not always have to be in the mix. Check the weed spectrum to see if it’s needed.

FACT: Savings of $3-$5/acre sometimes possible.

Insect Management

  • Choose a lower priced insecticide in areas with very low pressure or no maggots. Scout for root maggot flies to be sure maggot populations stay low.

FACT: Cost saving of $4 – $8/acre possible.

Disease Management

  • Ground application of fungicides can reduce application costs, possibly improving control of Cercospora leaf spot.

FACT: Savings of $1-$3/acre is possible for each application, 60% of all fungicides ground applied in 2001.

  • Consider date of planting, variety, leaf spot rating and careful field monitoring to maximize Cercospora control at the lowest cost possible.

FACT: One less fungicide application possible on some fields.

Timeliness of every operation is critical to maximize value received from every input. Consult your agriculturist to discuss ideas of interest to you.