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Sugarbeet Growers Magazine April / May 2014 : Page 14

Mich. Sugarbeet Production Practices Survey Summary By Steve Poindexter / Michigan Sugarbeet Advancement E very year, a series of educational programs are held for the Michigan/Ontario sugarbeet growers. These pro-grams are well attended by growers and agribusiness. The most recent research information is presented by Michigan Sugar Company agronomists/researchers and Michigan State University Extension Sugarbeet Advancement. The re-search and educational content covers a variety of topics to improve quality and management of the sugarbeet crop. A survey was conducted at this winter’s meetings to eval-uate grower adoption of management practices. Growers re-sponding to the survey represented 44,000 acres or about 25% of the sugarbeet acres in this region. A lot of research and effort has been focused on control-ling Rhizoctonia root rot. This disease has been a chronic disease that not only reduces tonnage, but also sugar con-tent. Research has shown that timely Quadris applications are very effective in controlling the disease. The survey indi-cated that 97% of the growers are using Quadris for control-ling Rhizoctonia. About 50% are applying two applications, in a T-band in-furrow plus 6-8 leaf stage. Research has shown that a narrow in-furrow T-band (3.0 to 5.0 inches) and reduced rate is as effective as the full rate in-furrow with a 7.0-inch band. The survey indicated that 89% of the growers are using the narrow T-bands. Nitrogen management is extremely important for opti-mum sugarbeet growth and quality. Too much nitrogen will reduce quality and too little will reduce tonnage. Research has shown that N rates should be higher (140-160 lbs/acre) following high-residue crops such as corn and be lowered (110-130 lbs/acre) when following low-residue crops like beans. The survey indicated that 90% of the responding growers are applying nitrogen in the recommended range when following either high-or low-residue crops. If left unchecked, Cercospora leafspot will greatly reduce yield and sugar content in sugarbeets. The survey indicated that 75% of the growers are using BEETcast to help time fungicide applications. To help minimize fungicide resist-ance, tank mixing different modes of action is recommended. The survey indicated that 50% of growers are always tank mixing and, additionally, 20% are mixing more than half the time. Only 5% of the growers were not tank mixing at all. To improve resistance management, growers need to incorpo-rate a new mode of action in their spray program. The survey also indicated that about 30% of responding growers used Super Tin in 2013 and another 16% are plan-ning to use it in 2014. Overall, leafspot was held in check last year with 57% spraying four times and 26% with four or more applications. Michigan Sugar Company has placed a strong emphasis and invested heavily in agronomic research and education. This has paid good dividends to the Michigan industry, as re-flected by an average yield increase of 0.6 ton per year since 1997. We also have the highest quality beets of any produc-tion area in the U.S. Attending educational programs regularly allows the Michigan/Ontario growers to be extremely competitive with other growing areas. Growers who attended last year’s pro-grams indicated that 94% intended to incorporate informa-tion from the meetings into their beet production practices. Of the survey respondents, 95% felt that attending the edu-cational programs would have a positive economic impact on their farming operation. v 14 THE SUGARBEET GROWER April/May 2014

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