08/05/21 Sugarbeet Report

Speaker 1: Bruce Sundeen, NDSU Agriculture Communication and Host
Speaker 2: Mohamed Khan, Sugarbeet Specialist with NDSU Extension and University of MN

This is the Sugarbeet Report- bringing you the latest information from NDSU throughout the sugarbeet growing season.

Bruce: It's been a challenging growing season and to top it off Cercospora leaf spot is hanging around. Mohamed Khan, Extension Sugarbeet Specialist at NDSU and the University of Minnesota is here to give us an update. Mohamed, it's hot, dry and smoky with an abundance of sunshine but not much significant rainfall. How is the sugarbeet crop and what should sugarbeet growers be doing right now?

Mohamed: The growers are getting ready the defoilaters and harvest already for pre-pile. This is where beets are harvested starting in August and are processed in about two days. American Crystal have a working pre-pile date of August 19th which would mean the growers will start harvesting around August 17th to supply the factories. Growers at Minn-Dak Sugarbeet Cooperative in southern Minnesota plan to start the pre-pile during the week of August 23rd. There are still two months for crop growth so adequate sunshine, warm days and cool nights. And a weekly rain. At this time it would take a monthly rain. It will improve the prospect for a good sugarbeet crop.

Bruce: What exactly is cercospora leaf spot?

Mohamed: It is the most devastating foliar disease of sugarbeet in Minnesota and North Dakota. It is caused by the fungus Cercospora beticola which overwinters infected sugarbeet leaves. The fungus damages the leaves which are the photosynthetic factories of the plants and thus lower tonnage and reduces the sugar resulting in lower economic returns. The Cercospora inoculum population is very high because of severe disease since 2016 and especially in 2020. The disease develops rapidly in the temperatures of 77 to 90 degrees and night temperature is above 60 degrees in the presence of prolonged moisture in the form of rainfall or dew. We have been very warm and dry so conditions have not been very favorable for disease development. Growers have done a great job of keeping their fields relatively free of this disease. Continued scouting and timely fungicide applications will result in a season where cercospora is successfully controlled.

Bruce: Are growers using the new cercospora varieties and how are they performing?

Mohamed: Yes growers are indeed using the new and improved CLS varieties especially at Minn-Dak. We were about 60% of the acreage has planted these varieties and also southern Minnesota. Based on feedback from producers, agriculturalists and my own observations from my field research, the new varieties are doing well at reducing disease severity. Hopefully more of these varieties will become available to growers to have an excellent tool for managing Cercospora beticola.

Bruce: Any final thoughts?

Mohamed: Yes since pre-pile will start in mid-August, growers should plan their fungicide application, taking into consideration pre-harvest intervals for fields that would be harvested early- that is from mid-august - and ensure fungicide protection continues to September for those fields that will go to full harvest that will start in early October. Check with your agriculturalist or give me a call at 218-790-8596 if you have any questions.

Bruce: Thanks, Mohamed. Our guest this week has been Mohamed Khan, Extension Sugarbeet Specialist at NDSU and the University of Minnesota. This has been the Sugarbeet Report - bringing you the latest information from NDSU throughout the sugarbeet growing season.