ISSUE #444

444 - Rhizomania Losses Exceed 45%


Losses in revenue per acre were greater than 45% in fields with heavy rhizomania pressure in 2002. Losses are expected to decrease revenue per acre by more than 30% in 2003 in some areas. Every shareholder must know the exact incidence and severity of rhizomania in each field in 2003. September is an ideal time to identify the disease as prepile harvest is conducted. Then order rhizomania resistant varieties as a first step in managing the disease in 2004.

Losses Great in 2002 on Farm Trials:

Rhizomania caused very serious losses in 2002 in on-farm strip trials. Figure 1 shows losses averaging 46% with severe disease at one location in the Moorhead district and two in Crookston. Moderate rhizomania pressure averaged revenue loss of about $100/acre in on-farm strip trials from two locations in the Hillsboro and one in the Moorhead factory district. Data is the average of 6 resistant varieties.


If you suspect you might have rhizomania in a field, contact your agriculturist for assistance


Rhizomania Identification and Symptoms - Leaves

  • Patches in fields
  • Poor growth
  • Bright, almost fluorescent yellow leaf growth
  • Narrow long leaves
  • Longer than normal and erect petioles

I.D. and Symptoms - Roots

  • Stunted tap roots
  • Masses of hairy sideroots or a "bearded" appearance on the tip of the beet
  • Root growth constricted a few inches below the soil - "wineglass" shape
  • Yellow to dark brown discoloration of root tip vascular bundles


Harvest Decision Tree:

The American Crystal Sugar Company Internet site has a calculator shareholders can use to guide harvesting decisions. It is used to prioritize fields in the order to be harvested to maximize revenue per acre. It can be used for both pre-pile and stockpile decision making. The calculator requires a knowledge of several factors for each field.

Go to agronomy, then ag calculators then harvest calculator to use this decision tree.

Precision Ag Strategies For Profit:

Zone soil sampling and variable rate N application for sugarbeets has shown $45 per acre increased revenue over conventional soil sampling in the Grower Practices Database.

Beet top N credits for the crop following sugarbeet in rotation has demonstrated many on-farm profit benefits like N fertilizer savings, less lodging, and better malting barley.


The Fort Ransom Sodbuster Historical Society would like to obtain a 4-row horse drawn beet cultivator and a horse drawn beet lifter. Contact Al Cattanach if you would be willing to donate either item.

NDSU Survey:

Please promptly complete and return the production practice survey to Dr. Alan Dexter at NDSU. Survey data is used to plan research and education programs, secure section 18 pesticide labels, etc.

Zone Imagery:

Contact your agriculturist or crop consultant for satellite imagery of the 2003 or past beet fields to put these precision farming practices into place.