ISSUE #503

503 - Variety Selection: Get it Right for 2008


THE 2007 CROP YEAR WILL GO DOWN AS THE SECOND BIGGEST AND BEST IN AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR COMPANY HISTORY. MANY FACTORS contributed to that success. Certainly not the least of those factors was careful variety selection. The exciting transition to adoption of Roundup Ready varieties for sugarbeet production will confront each grower in the next 60 days. Dry summer weather for 45-60 days in each of the last two years allowed us to avoid major losses to Aphanomyces root rot. Rhizoctonia crown rot was severe in many fields again in 2007. We also observed many, many fields with Rhizoctonia causing taproot tip rot symptoms not like the typical crown rot. Fusarium continues to infest many fields and spreads to new areas of the Red River Valley each year. Don't order varieties for 2008 blindly. Be sure to carefully scrutinize all the biotech and other variety data to avoid unnecessary problems in 2008.

Prioritized Critical Factors for Field-by-Field Variety Selection

  1. Specific disease incidence and severity
  2. Need for multiple disease resistance
  3. Presence of difficult to control weed species requiring Roundup Ready varieties
  4. Overall density (pressure) of weeds
  5. Soil type and stand establishment challenges
  6. Pre-pile or stockpile harvest or planned for both

Prioritized Disease Selection Criteria on a Field-by-Field Basis

  1. Rhizomania incidence and severity
  2. Aphanomyces incidence and severity
  3. Rhizoctonia incidence and severity
  4. Fusarium incidence and severity especially in Moorhead
  5. Cercospora rating

Evaluate Specific Disease Rating Characteristics

  • Multiple years disease rating stability
  • Aphanomyces specialty category ratings
  • Red River Valley Fusarium screening trial ratings
  • Red River Valley Rhizoctonia nursery ratings
  • Cercospora ratings from Minnesota and Michigan

NOTE: All this data is available now even if yield and quality data isn't.

Other Very Important Selection Criteria

  • XBEET for enhanced stands, improved yield
  • Seed spacing - don't change past proven spacing choices
  • Tachigaren for seedling Aphanomyces control
  • Variety emergence percent
  • Match seed size to best planter capability for stand improvement

What Are the Benefits of XBEET?

  • Increased speed and uniformity of germination, emergence and crop establishment
  • Raises yield potential and on-farm profit most of the time


2004, 2005 & 2006 XBEET Yield Results - Dr. Larry Smith University of Minnesota - NWROC - Average across 7 varieties

XBEET 23.8 16.6 7,412 $ 892
PAT 22.9 16.5 7,067 $ 843
Standard Check 21.2 16.5 6,566 $ 785
XBEET vs. Check 2.6 .01 847 $ 107


Four years of U of MN and two years of NDSU research trials document benefits of XBEET. Extensive seed company and grower strip trials in 2007 show yield advantage at most locations. Less yield advantage sometimes observed with ideal seedbeds and an optimum environment for beets to reach 50% emergence in 7 days or less.

Plan for Pre-pile

Overall beet crop revenue and farm profitability can definitely be enhanced by planning for high sugar, good tonnage fields to be harvested in their entirety for pre-pile only.