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Soil-borne and Foliar Diseases top the charts as most Important Production Challenges in Minnesota and North Dakota Survey
By Alexa Lystad, Peter Haak and Tom Peters | North Dakota State University Extension
Grower seminars presented by North Dakota State University and University of Minnesota Extension Specialists are an annual tradition for sugarbeet growers and allied industry. The survey of pest control and other production practices was incorporated into the seminar in 2016. The survey replaces the ballot sugarbeet growers completed by mail beginning in 1968. In 2020, survey results reported by 245 Producer respondents represented approximately 174,032 acres or 28 percent of the 620,000 total sugarbeet acres planted in 2019.
Diseases were highlighted by Survey Respondents
Soil borne and foliar diseases were the most serious production challenges in sugarbeet in 2019 according to surveyed growers. Twenty-seven percent of surveyed growers reported Cercospora Leaf Spot (CLS) and 26 percent reported Rhizoctonia root and crown rot as their most serious production problem. Majority of respondents made four CLS applications with northern locations only needing about two to three and southern locations requiring five to six applications (see Table 1.) Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported using fungicide mixtures for CLS applications in 2019. About 40 percent of respondents started making CLS applications around July 1st and 52 percent completed the last spray between September 1 and 10th.
Back to the Future
Weeds and emergence/stand related production challenges were named the most serious challenge by 16 percent of respondents in 2019. Fifty-six percent of respondents named waterhemp as the most serious weed problem in sugarbeet in 2019, corresponding to approximately 368,600 acres. Common ragweed was named the second most important weed by 18 percent of survey respondents.
Soil applied herbicides were the backbone of weed management programs prior to the development of RR sugarbeet. Soil applied herbicides are back with the onset of waterhemp. Fifty-eight percent of respondents used soil-residual herbicides postemergence to sugarbeet and preemergence to waterhemp ‘lay-by’ in 2019. Outlook was the most commonly applied lay-by herbicide. Use of chloroacetamide herbicides (S-metolachlor, Outlook and Warrant) with glyphosate coincides with areas where glyphosate-resistant waterhemp is common. Seventy-five percent of respondents applying lay-by herbicides indicated ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ weed control. Preplant incorporated (PPI) or preemergence (PRE) herbicides were reported by 45 percent of respondents in 2019.
Insect Challenges, especially in the Northern Valley
Sugarbeet root maggot was the predominant insect pest problem for North Dakota and Minnesota in 2019. About 41 percent of respondents listed the root maggot as their worst insect pest problem, which was a 14 percent increase from 2018. About 11 percent of respondents identified grasshoppers as their top insect pest problem in 2019, which was a 390 percent increase from 2018. Springtails also increased by about 67 percent between 2018 and 2019.
Over 78 percent of respondents reported using a neonicotinoid seed treatment insecticide in 2019, which was an 8 percent increase from 2018. About 41 percent of respondents used a postemergence insecticide to manage the sugarbeet root maggot – a 14 percent increase from 2018. Overall, 11 percent of surveyed producers indicated that their insecticide uses in 2019 had increased in comparison to the previous five years.
Other Survey Findings
Mechanical weed control or hand labor was reported by 60 percent of survey respondents. Sugarbeet growers indicated 38 percent used at least some hand-weeding while 16 percent indicated use of inter-row-cultivation for weed control in sugarbeet. Most respondents indicated less than 10 percent of their acres were hand weeded.
Wheat was the most common crop to precede sugarbeet with 55 percent reported in 2019. Corn preceded sugarbeet on 27 percent and soybean on 9 percent of reported acres.
Nurse crops were seeded by 70 percent of participating growers. Wheat was the most reported nurse crop at 27 percent followed by barley at 26 percent, averaged across counties.