ISSUE #463

463 - 2004 Crop Above Expectations


The 2004 growing season got off to a great start with 90 percent of all acres planted by early May. The next 100 days presented numerous challenges across American Crystal Sugar Company's growing area. Excessive rainfall fell in many areas. Late spring and summer featured much below normal temperatures. Wind and frost caused some replanting along with very dry seedbeds especially in the Moorhead area. Rhizomania and Aphanomyces took a toll on yield and quality in some areas. Fusarium was severe in the Moorhead district and present in far more fields in all districts than in the past. Yield expectations as of early September were for average yields and poor quality. Also, above average temperatures in the last half of September and first half of October dramatically increased crop yield and quality. Gold Standard agronomy recommendations practiced by growers laid a foundation for a really good crop to be realized in spite of very unusual weather. Sugar loss to molasses was the best ever. Weather as usual hampered a smooth harvest as frost, heat, and excess rainfall all plagued the Valley.

Gold Standard Agronomy Practices Prove Valuable in 2004:

  • Early planting for high yield
  • Very good stand establishment with a large acreage at 170-190 beets/100'
  • Excellent N management with a large acreage variable rate managed at or near the 130 lbs of available N level
  • Good to excellent weed control in most fields
  • Best management practices used for insect and disease control
  • Acceptable variety selection for each field with the exception of under utilization of Rhizomania resistant varieties in some areas

Outlook Labeled:

Outlook herbicide from BASF received a full label for layby use in sugarbeet for 2005. Alan Dexter will review recommendations for its use at winter grower seminars.

Rhizomania Variety Selection:

Seed companies have steadily improved yield and quality of the Rhizomania resistant varieties. Carefully review coded trial data and select those varieties best suited to each field on your farm.