ISSUE #428 Beet Seed – Basis For 2003 Success

428 Beet Seed – Basis For 2003 Success


Choice of the right beet seed variety will allow shareholders to gain the most benefit from individual production practices in place on each farm. Conclusions from the “Model Farm” summary of the grower practices database indicates maximum on-farm profit is achieved with “balanced” varieties that are ranked very high in both revenue per ton and per acre in coded variety trials and the grower practices databases.

Information Based Decisions:

Shareholders should not make variety choices without reviewing all the available information possible.

Sources of Variety Performance Information:

  1. Coded trial results – current year and past two years
  2. Grower Practices System data
  3. Past on farm variety performance
  4. Agriculturists experience and observations
  5. Strip trials

Rhizomania and Variety Selection: 

Agriculturists identified a total of about 120,000 acres of beets in 2002 with rhizomania. Table 1 shows the incidence and severity by factory district. Rhizomania is spreading very rapidly. Frequent flooding, wind erosion, and other sources of soil movement between fields easily spread the disease. A total of 200,000 acres or more of the 2003 crop is expected to be effected by rhizomania.

Table 1. Acres effected By Rhizomania In 2002

Moorhead 5.000 7,500 37,500
Hillsboro 750 5,000 10,250
Crookston 2,500 5,000 25,000
East Grand Forks 0 8,000 12,000
Drayton 0 0 1,500
Red River Valley 8,250 25,500 86,250

Yield and quality losses from rhizomania can be very severe. Many factors impact losses due to rhizomania.

Factors Increasing Rhizomania Losses Are:

  • Late planting
  • Wet field conditions
  • Warm soil tempertures
  • Poor drainage
  • Short rotations

Table 2. Potential Economic Losses From Rhizomania:

8,250 Acres 25,500 Acres 86,250 Acres
$287.00/Acre $100.00/Acre $10.00/Acre
$2.37 Million $2.55 Million $862,000

Based on 2002 strip trial results, planting a resistant variety in fields severely infected with rhizomania, has the potential of increasing revenue per acre by as much as $287.00. Those fields with moderate infections have the potential of gaining $100.00 per acre. Planting a rhizomania resistant variety can minimize risk in fields with slight infection levels. If a grower chooses to plant a rhizomania resistant variety on a field with no disease, they have the potential of losing $64.00 per acre. The take home message “Growers must use rhizomania resistant varieties in fields that have some level of disease, and should not use them in fields that do not have infection!”

Rhizomania Decision Tree:

The American Crystal Sugar Company rhizomania team has developed a decision tree to assist shareholders in deciding when to plant resistant varieties. The decision tree can be found at under “Whats New,” under “Pest Alert,” and under “Calculators.” Contact your agriculturist if assistance is needed.

Rhizomania Resistant Varieties:

Twenty six varieties were evaluated in American Crystal Sugar Company coded variety trials in 2002. Six varieties were tested in strip trials on eleven shareholder fams this year. Be sure to attend a Crystal Beet Seed meeting in your area to get the best information on resistant variety selection for 2003.

Freight – Freight – Freight:

Next to the beet payment nothing stirs more discussion in the beet industry than cost of freight. The American Crystal Sugar Company Ag Department has developed a freight system calculator shareholders can use to evaluate the impact of yield and quality of varieties on revenue adjusted for freight costs.

This decision aid can be found in the shareholder info section of our web site. The calculator allows growers to do side by side comparisions of return per acre from two varieties delivered to three different piling stations. Freight costs may vary by hundreds or thousands of dollars depending which station beets are delivered too.

Close The Gap II:

The Agriculture Department in each district will again present Best Management Practice information at Close The Gap meetings this winter to assist growers in realizing the greatest possible potential from the 2003 crop. Topics to be presented include; weed control, cercospora control, model farm project results, rhizomania management, common sense precision farming practices and the freight system. Results of on-farm rhizomania strip trials will be presented at Crystal Beet Seed meetings.

Rhizomania Advice:

There is limited resistant variety seed available for 2003. See your agriculturist for more information on need for a resistant variety in your area in 2003.

Idea Contest:

Deadline for 2002 entries is November 26. See your agriculturist for entry forms and details.

Rhizomania Severity:

Acreage with severe and moderate disease levels are expected to double in 2003.