Sugar Beets

Tina Mitchell


1. America’s Heartland Harvest Video





· beet of a variety from which sugar is extracted, it is a swollen taproot

· A mature sugar beet measures up to a foot long

· Weighs two to five pounds

· produces about three to five ounces of sugar

· Roughly 18 percent of the beet is pure sugar

· The sugar beet plant is a root crop which grows underground


· Tend to be grown in the more northerly portions of the United States

· sugar beet valley

· Can be grown in southern states and warmer climates

· The earlier the planting and longer the growing season, the higher the yield


· prepare your seed beds in a sunny location with firmly packed soil

· slightly moist soil at a depth of three-quarters to 1.5 inches

· soil is well-drained and free of roots and large stones that can inhibit the roots' growth

· prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5

· 1 inch apart in rows and then thinning the plants

· Space the plants 10 to 12 inches apart

· Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart

· reach maturity in 90 to 95 days

Production Increases in the 2000's

· investment in new processing equipment

· adoption of new technologies

· the use of improved crop varieties

· acreage expansion


· Leafy tops are mowed off

· Digger comes and slices tops off of the beets

· Pulls beets out of the ground by two blades turned at an angle

· Lifts them onto grab rolls to separate soil from beet and convey to the back of the harvester

· Dumped in the “farris wheel”

· Conveys them to an “elevator”

· Loaded on to a truck

· Taken to sugar plant

· Digger is pulled behind a tractor

· Also have combines


· seedlings compete poorly with weeds

· hand pulling

· spot spraying problem areas with herbicide throughout the growing season

· Root rots, Powdery mildew, Cercospora leaf spot

· cutworms, nematodes, flea beetles, wire-worms, root aphids, white grubs and web-worms


· Sugar

· Molasses

· cattle feed (beet pulp)

· dog food (beet pulp)

· Plastics (beet pulp)

Fun Fact

· sugarcane has accounted for about 45 percent of the total sugar produced domestically

· Minnesota ranks first in national sugar beet production, followed by North Dakota, Idaho, Michigan and Montana

· biodegradable plastic that could be used in disposable food containers is made from sugar beets