Sowing sugar beet – influence the crop yield with the sowing
Optimal sowing conditions build the foundations for a successful season that is finished off with a profitable and good-quality harvest. Close attention must be paid to the following points for the sowing:
Seed bed preparation: The aim is to prepare a favourable environment with optimal soil compaction. It should be flat but deep enough to be ploughed by a tractor. Care must be taken to ensure a sufficient recompacting of the seed bed, it should not be too fine. The rule is: seed bed before sowing time.
Sowing date: As early as possible, as late as necessary. Here you need to use your instincts. Sugar beet is usually sown between mid-March and mid-April, but care must be taken in regions with a risk of late frost. An important criteria for the sowing date is the soil temperature, as germination can take place at 5 – 6 °C but the optimal temperature is between 10 and 12 °C.
Check your tools: You must check your tools before starting to sow your sugar beet. Ploughshares, rotary feeders, trailers and pressure rollers must all be checked. Attrition and wear can reduce the tools’ functionality.
Seed placement: An optimal plant population is between 80,000 and 100,000 plants/ha. For this, around 110,000 seeds need to be planted with a distance between rows of 45 or 50 cm and a distance between the plants in the row of 18 to 22 cm. The optimal planting depth is 1.5 to 2.5 cm. This depends on the seed bed preparation as the seeds must lie on a solid subsoil with connection to capillary water.
Section-specific sowing: This is done through the variation of seed spacing in the row. The adjustment of the seeding rate to the different yield potentials of the soil makes it possible to achieve higher yields in specific sections and increases efficiency.
Mouse infestations: If you are concerned about a serious mouse infestation, then ensuring an optimal sugar beet sowing is particularly important. Mice only like the seedling at certain stages of growth. Once the plant has “grown through” this stage, it is no longer interesting for the rodents. It is also a good idea to implement distraction feeding in the field or in specific sections.
Deciding when to plough the soil: If your plant population is unsatisfactory, first the correct crop density must be determined. If there are still over 45,000 plants/ha, then you should avoid ploughing the soil. Even with lower numbers of plants, the following applies: if the beets are distributed evenly, then lower crop densities can also be tolerated. Ploughing the soil is recommended when you have less than 40,000 plants/ha. It should be done quickly so that you do not lose even more growing time.