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Sugar Beet Cultivation Technology; Farming Methods

Sugar Beet Cultivation Technology; Farming Methods

Sugar beet Cultivation

Let us discuss Sugar Beet Cultivation Technology and Farming Methods.

Sugar beet, which is scientifically termed as Beta vulgaris is one of the forms of beet belonging to the family of amaranth which is scientifically termed as Amaranthaceae. The cultivation of sugar beet is done as a sugar source. The juice of sugar been to consist of sucrose in a large amount and this occupies second place after sugarcane.

Sugar beet is usually grown in gardens as a vegetable. Previously, sugar beet was also used as fodder.

Sugar beet is completely opposite to the sugar cane when compared to the suitable climatic conditions as it mainly grows in the temperate zones whereas the sugar cane grows in subtropical and tropical climates.

Contents of Sugar beet:

Sugar beet is white and it has a root which is fleshy. Its crown is flat. The sugar beet plant contains root and a rose-shaped decoration of leaves. Sugar is obtained when the process of photosynthesis takes place in the leaves. The sugar which is obtained is stored in the root.

The sugar beet root will have 75% of water. Other 20% will be sugar and the remaining 5% is the pulp. The content of sugar in the sugar beet varies between 14-21% and it is completely dependent on the conditions of growth. Sugar is considered as the most important thing in the sugar beet in commercial crowing. The pulp will not dissolve in water and it mainly comprises cellulose, lignin, pectin, and hemicellulose. This pulp is used as a feed for animals. Molasses and pulp which are the by-products of the sugar beet will add another 10% to 12% of the value to the obtained harvest.

The weight of the sugar beet will vary between ½ kilogram to 1 kg on an average. The foliage of sugar beet is green in color. It has a green colour with a height of 15 inches. The leaves of the sugar beet are many in number and also broad. These leaves grow from the beets crown which would be just above the ground level.

History of Sugar beet:

Sugar beet was first produced by a chemist named Andreas Marggraf belonging to Germany and in the year 1747. Though the sugar beet was experimentally found in 1747, the factory of sugar-beet was built in the year 1802 which is now present in Poland. Napoleon is the person who got interested in the process of producing sugar cane in the year 1811 and because of his influence, approximately 40 factories of beet-sugar have been established in France. After the fall of Napoleon, the factories of sugar-beet have been collapsed, but in the year 1840, the recovery of those factories started. The production of sugar beet has increased very quickly and by the time of the 1880s, the cost of a tonne of sugar beet has overtaken the rate of sugarcane.

Sugar Beets.
Sugar Beets.

Sugar Beet Names:

Sugar Beet In Tamil: Carkkaraivaḷḷikkiḻaṅku

Sugar Beet In Kannada: Sakkare bīṭ

Sugar Beet In Telugu: Cakkera dumpa

Sugar Beet In Malayalam: pañcasāra bīṟṟṟūṭṭ

Sugar Beet In Marathi: Sākhara bīṭa

Sugar Beet In Gujarati: Khāṇḍa bīṭa

Sugar Beet In Hindi: Meethe Chuqandar

Soil Requirements for Sugar beet cultivation:

Soil Required For Sugar Beet.
Soil Required For Sugar Beet.
  • The sugar beet is similar to sugar cane. It needs a particular type of soil and a climate which is unique for the cultivation to be successful. T
  • The main requirement for soil is that it needs to have a large amount of plant food, should be rich in the content of humus and should be capable of retaining a large amount of moisture.
  • Some quantity of alkali does not cause any harm as they are not prone to any sort of injury due to some amount of alkali. The surface should be levelled in a fair manner and should be drained well, mainly when practicing irrigation.
  • The crops which are generous will grow in a soil which is sandy and also in the heavy loads. We can consider sandy loam as an ideal one to choose from. This would be a combination of clay, organic matter, and sand.
  • There should not be any hard-pan or any gravel should not be considered as the depth should be at least 15 inches is required for the cultivation to get the best results.
  • The soils which are highly acidic are not suitable for the cultivation of sugar beet. The preferred pH for the soil of sugar beet cultivation ranges between 6 to 8. The culture of sugar beet in the soils with the level of pH less than 6 should not be considered until the liming increases the pH to at least 7 or more.
  • The production of sugar beet which is profitable will be mostly dependent on the high content of sucrose. To achieve this, the factors which limit the growth of the plant such as fertility of the soil should be taken care of.
  • Sugar beet is very much unique in the requirements of nitrogen. If there is very less nitrogen, then it leads to poor canopies of leaf, decreased yields and premature yellowing.
  • If the amount of nitrogen is very high, then it leads to decreased content of sucrose, raised impurities and decreased extraction of sucrose. To manage the nitrogen effectively, the nitrate and nitrogen content should be determined by approaching a laboratory which uses good procedures.
  • The quality of sugar beet will involve two points. The percentage of sucrose in the root and the number of impurities present in the root. Both of these affect the extraction of sucrose which is done by the processor. The most important thing for the farmers in the production of sugar beets is the quality as it will have an impact on the payment.
  • The use of correct nitrogen fertilizer will raise the yield of roots and sucrose. This may also increase the impurities and reduce the sucrose percentage present in the root.
  • You need to use the information from the soil test in order to choose fields with suitable nitrogen levels to get the yields which are expected. Sugar beets generally need 8 lbs of nitrogen per a tonne for the production of good yield with high quality.

Climatic requirements for Sugar beet cultivation:

  • Temperature, sunlight, rain, and winds play an important role in the success of sugar beet cultivation.
  • The temperature should range between 16 to 21 °C at the time of growing. When the irrigation is adequate, 500 mm of rainfall will be required to raise the crop which is average.
  • The winds which are high will harm the crop as they will crust the land and restrict the young beets which are coming from the ground. You can get the best results when the climate is warm and then followed by nights which are foggy and cool.
  • A long duration of sunlight with less intensity is an important factor for the success of sugar beet cultivation.
  • The plants of sugar beet generally grow till the harvest is done or until the growth is stopped. The sugar beet crops mainly grow till the canopy of leaf entirely covers the surface of the soil in the field. This process generally takes at least three months from the day of the plantation.
  • The day time temperature should be between 15°C to 26°C for the first three months of the growth of the plant.
  • The regions which have a long length of the day will be the best place for the cultivation of sugar beet.
  • The environment which is the most favorable for the production of sugar beet from three months after the crops emerged to the harvest stage is the sunny days which are bright with a temperature of 18°C to 27°C and are followed with night temperatures of 4°C to 10°C.
  • These conditions of the environment will not only increase the yield, but also the quality of sugar beet crop.

Preparation of land and seedbed for sugar beet cultivation:

  • For the successful cultivation of sugar beet, the preparation of land is an important step to be taken care of. The first principle for the cultivation of sugar beet is deep ploughing.
  • This will make the roots to penetrate into the subsoil without any disturbances which in turn helps in the prevention of sugar beet from growing out of the level of the ground.
  • Instead, it will enable it for the extraction of moisture from the soil which is a kind of nourishment which has to be considered. If extracting the moisture from the soil is a difficult task, the roots will not penetrate into the soil and because of this, the sugar beet plant should be pushed up and should be removed from the earth in the growing process.
  • A soil which is hard will not allow any fluid to pass through it and will cause a problem as there would be no proper drainage system. The soil should not be very loose and also very hard. If the soil is very loose, it will allow more amount of undesirable water to flow through it.
  • An ideal soil is the one which is deep, fine and also neutral. The crops of sugar beet cause exhaustion of the soil very quickly. Crop rotation is very much necessary for sugar beet cultivation.
  • Generally, sugar beets are cultivated in the same area every third year. In the other two years, crops like beans, peas or any sort of grain are cultivated.

The preparation of seedbed is also considered to be an effective step in the cultivation of sugar beet crop. The main objectives to be followed in the preparation of seedbed are

  • Managing the residues of the crop in an effective manner.
  • Decreasing soil erosion
  • Improving the structure of soil so that the requirements of the crop can be fulfilled
  • Remove the weeds which occur in the early season.

Preparation of soil in the fall should be according to the type of soil, amount of soil and the type of the residue left by the previous crop which is planted. The soil should also be very comfortable with the requirements of soil conservation. Chisel ploughs, field cultivators, moldboard ploughs etc are the ones which are used in a successful way for the first agricultural soil preparation or tillage. Soil preparation systems should have sufficient residue on the surface of the soil in order to prevent soil erosion or to be compatible with the systems of cover cropping for the control of soil erosion. The soil preparation in the spring should be very minimum. The main objectives in the spring tillage are the preservation of moisture in the seedbed, maintenance of sufficient residue of crops on the soil to eradicate soil erosion.

The seedbeds in the spring should be as much levelled and firm as possible for the allowance of good seed into the soil at the time of plantation. The tools used in the spring tillage are multi weeders, harrow, light harrows. The soil preparation in the spring should be at a depth of 2 inches. Plantation should be done as fast as possible after the tillage prior to the occurrence of seedbed drying. The plantation of sugar beets is done at a depth of up to 1.5 meters only.

Read: Tiger Prawn Cultivation Techniques.

Plantation in Sugar beet cultivation:

  • The plantation of sugar beet is done along with planters of precision row crop. Plate planters and cell wheel planters workout very well. The rate of seeding will be between 2 to 3 lbs of seeds per one acre.
  • The operation of planters of sugar beet should not exceed five miles per hour. This will result in an increase of skips, seed triples and also cause damage to the seeds.
  • The plantation of the seed of sugar beet should not be done at a depth which is more than 1.5 inches.
  • If the width of the row is narrow, then the yield and quality will be higher compared to the rows which are wide. The sugar beets which are cultivated in narrow rows will also compete with weeds also in a better way.
  • The row widths which can be considered are between 20 inches to 24 inches. Mostly, farmers consider the row width of 22 inches. The plantation of sugar beets in the rows of 30 inches for the convenience of equipment and for the compatibility of other crops in crop rotation.
  • The sugar beets which are planted in the rows of 30 inches will yield up to 500 lbs less sugar per one acre than in the rows of 22 inches with the similar populations of harvest.
  • If the populations of the plant are more uniform, then it will lead to great yield and quality which are very much simple in the rows which are narrow.
  • The population of sugar beet plant should be between 25,000 to 40,000 plants per acre and with space which is uniform.
  • These plants should be able to produce very good yields of sugar beets with high quality. Farmers can also expect the plants to get established from 65% of the seed which is planted.
  • There would be a loss of at least 5% of the seedling between the process of plantation and harvest. Again, this is completely dependent on the conditions of growth. 
Sugar Beet Crop.
Sugar Beet Crop.

Harvest, and Storage of Sugar beet:

The harvest of sugar beet is usually done in the months of September and October. Usage of mechanical defoliator is done to eradicate the foliage from the sugar beet before lifting. Removing the foliage is very much important for the prevention of regrowth of leaves in the piles of storage. Heavy frosts which occur before defoliation will make it difficult to remove the foliage properly from the sugar beets. After defoliation is done, the harvesters will pull the sugar beets from soil and start loading them on to the trucks. The soil which is wet will slow the operations of harvesting which leads to a large amount of dirt going into the sugar beets. After the loading is done, the sugar beets will be delivered to the factory for the purpose of storage and also for processing. The harvest of sugar beet will need a minimum of two pieces of equipment which are highly expensive and also specialized. The two types of equipment are harvester and defoliator. Trucks are also used but at the time of harvest.

Storage is mainly done on piling grounds which are flat and also unpaved and these are usually provided by the company which has taken up the responsibility of processing. Storage can also be done on forced air ventilation or systems of aeration or storage buildings which are climate controlled. These piling grounds which are specialized will reduce the sugar loss which occurs due to the storage rots and respiration of roots.

Pests, and Disease control in Sugar beet cultivation:

  • The losses in the sugar beet yield are mainly caused by seedling blights, rots in the roots and foliar diseases. By using suitable methods of control, you can decrease the loss which is caused due to diseases.
  • The fungi which are soil borne are the common seedling pathogens. Some of these are Aphanomyces, Rhizoctonia solani, Pythium species. There is a pathogen which is seed borne called as Phoma betae which will affect sugar beets, but this is not the problem which is considered as the common one in many regions.
  • This kind of diseases will attack the seed which has emerged very recently or the one which is just undergoing the process of germination. The diseases in the seedlings which are caused by these fungi will have the same symptoms called as damping off.
  • More than two pathogens will affect the seedlings at the same time or one after the other. The severity of the disease will change as per the regions. The severity in the disease of the seedling is determined as per the available inoculum of the disease, climatic conditions.
  • Rhizoctonia Solani and Aphanomyces cochlioides are the main fungi which cause rots in the rots which is a major concern economically. Most of these fungi will have long periods of survival in the soil. The symptoms will change from small lesions to complete damage of the root by wet rots or dry rots.
  • The methods to control severe rotting of roots and disease problems in seedlings will consist of varietal resistance, treatment of seeds and applications of fungicides. The root rot control is very costly and temporary in nature.
  • Sugar beet which is cultivated on a commercial purpose is generally treated with more than one fungicides which act as protectants.
  • Cercospora Leaf spot is a disease which is caused by a fungus called Cercospora beticola. This is a foliar disease which is considered as the most serious one in the sugar beets. There would be a loss of up to 30% sucrose per one acre. The roots of the plant which are affected will not do well even in the storage piles.
  • Most of the high yielding varieties which are growing at present are prone to Cercospora. The days which are warm with humidity which is high are most likely to serious outbreaks of disease. This disease can be predicted by using a model which helps in to monitor the development of disease and to plan a program by using a fungicide. The crop rotation which takes place for every three years will decrease the inoculum of the disease. Triphenyltin hydroxide is a fungicide which helps in the control of Cercospora leaf spot.
  • Powdery mildew is a disease which is caused by the fungus called Erysiphe betae which is considered as the only one complicated foliar disease in the sugar beets. Long periods of drought, warm days and cold nights will lead to this disease. Control of powdery mildew is done by Bayleton but the costs will be more while using this. To control this, crop rotation is not the correct method.

Uses of Sugar beet:

  • The most common use for the sugar beet is as processed sugar. But there are many other uses for sugar beet.
  • By making use of sugar beet, few countries prepare an alcoholic beverage which is strong.
  • Preparation of syrup which is not refined is done by using sugar beets. In this process, the sugar beets get shredded as they get cooked for hours and pressed. There would be juice which is squeezed from this mash and this would be like thick honey. This will be used in sandwiches as a spread. The syrup which is prepared can also be de-sugared and can be used as a de-icing agent.
  • The molasses of the sugar beet will have a better effect than salt as they do not get damaged when used at the same time. This will lower the point of freezing of the mixture of salt by making it capable to be effective when the temperature is low.
  • The by-products which are obtained in the processing of beets into sugar such as molasses and pulp can be used as feed for livestock as they are rich in fibre.
  • The by-products of pulp and molasses are also used in the production of alcohol, the commercial purpose of baking and also in the pharma industry.

Read: Rice Production In Myanmar.

Last Updated: March 6, 2019
Author: Jagdish

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