The Difference Is in Payment — “Shooting for average sugarbeet yields that are high in recoverable sugar or for over-fertilized high tonnage yields may make a difference of $136 per acre. And figuring over 300,000 acres of sugarbeets in the Red River Valley, that adds up to something like $40 million growers are paying for letting nitrate problems get ahead of them.
“Not only is less sugar produced from beets lifted from high nitrate fields, but more tons of beets must go through the plant. Processing costs the same regardless of the amount of sugar recovered. And plants are limited to a given capacity, so low-sugar beets cost both the company and the producer.
“ ‘If you want to get the most recoverable sugar, nitrogen management is the key,’ says John Moraghan, soil scientist
at North Dakota State University.
“Last year he studied commercial fields in Walsh County where some good growers capable of raising high yields had been raising low quality beets, low in sugar and high in sodium. Even when taking into consideration such variables as varieties, management, stands, Cercospora and planting dates, he found that nitrate dominated everything.
“ ‘Nitrates came through like a beacon. We have to look for fields that are dark green in late fall. That’s the giveaway as far as the quality problem is concerned. We have to manage rotations and fertilizer so that at the end of the season, fields will be showing yellow,’ Moraghan advises.”
Count Adult Flies Before Applying Insecticides -- “If you’re a Red River Valley sugarbeet grower who has been routinely applying insecticides to control sugarbeet root maggot, you may have been spending money needlessly.
“About the only grower who should routinely apply sugarbeet maggot control insecticides is the grower who has had a long-term maggot problem, says Andy Anderson, North Dakota State University entomologist. Just because a neighbor down the road a couple miles has a problem is no reason to apply maggot control insecticides.
“Anderson is in the process of developing a monitoring program to check the insect population, then determine the point at which he can correlate adult insect numbers with damage. Based on that information, he can make a recommendation to treat or not in June rather than a grower assuming he routinely has to apply maggot control insecticides in April or early May.”
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