The 44th annual survey of weed control and production practices among sugarbeet growers in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota had a lower response rate than usual.
One hundred fourteen growers responded to the survey in 2012. Combined, that group represented nearly 70,000 acres, or 10% of total sugarbeet acreage planted last year in the American Crystal, Minn-Dak and Southern Minnesota region. That’s the lowest response rate on record. (More than 240 growers responded to the 2011 survey.) The survey’s authors (sugarbeet specialists at North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota) suggest that the use of an electronic survey format for the first time may be the reason for the lower response rate.
Those growers who responded reported that total sugarbeet acreage treated with herbicides in 2012 was 208% (taking into account multiple applications). That compares to 287% in 2011, 256% in 2010, 230% in 2009 and 308% in 2008. The small number of respondents who planted conventional sugarbeets reported treating 378% of their acreage, while those who planted Roundup Ready® beets said they applied herbicide to 202% of their acreage. That 202% is the lowest percentage since Roundup Ready beets began being grown in the region. “Possible reasons for reduced herbicide applications include early planting followed by early crop canopy closure, which resulted in good weed control; environmental conditions that maximized herbicide activity for most herbicide applications; or the low number of survey respondents,” the authors state.
Nortron was the only soil-applied herbicide reported by respondents in 2012, and that was at a very low percentage of overall acres.
“The most common herbicide treatment reported by all respondents since 2008 has been glyphosate applied POST,” the survey report says. “Glyphosate, when combined across all rates and combinations, was applied POST to 192% of the total sugarbeet acreage reported in 2012, compared to 198% in 2011, 224% in 2010, 190% in 2009 and 105% in 2008.” Glyphosate plus Stinger and glyphosate plus Select were the most frequently reported herbicide combinations by those respondents planting Roundup Ready beets in 2012. “Stinger is likely added to glyphosate to help control volunteer Roundup Ready soybean and/or glyphosate-resistant common ragweed, while Select is likely added to control volunteer Roundup Ready corn.”
Rhizoctonia/Aphanomyces was selected most often as the “most serious production problem” by 2012 survey respondents (43%) for the fourth year in a row. From 1999 to 2008, weeds were the primary problem for respondents; but in 2012, only 11% of respondents selected weeds as their most serious production problem. However, that 11% does represent the first rise of weeds being reported as a serious production problem since the introduction of Roundup Ready sugarbeets.
Averaged across all counties, respondents reported hand weeding on 5% of Roundup Ready beet acres.
Don Lilleboe is editor of 'The Sugarbeet Grower' and 'Gilmore Sugar Manual.'