Sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) storage quality in large outdoor piles is impacted by pile management but not by nitrogen fertilizer or cultivar
Even though storage results in lower sucrose recovery from sugar beets, physical constraints dictate that a significant proportion of the sugar beet crop can be stored up to 120 d before processing. From 2006 to 2010, N fertilization (0-220 kg N ha-1), sugar beet cultivar, and pile management method were independently evaluated to determine their effects on sugar beet storability in large outdoor piles. At harvest, five representative sugar beet samples from the N and cultivar field trials were placed in a large outdoor storage pile. Sugar beet quality assessments were taken at harvest and three times over the storage season. On the last retrieval date only, sugar beet samples were retrieved from piles managed via the length- vs. end-removal method. Although there were differences among N treatments and cultivars in sugar beet quality at harvest, there were no storage date by N treatment or storage date by cultivar interactions for any parameters measured indicating that N fertilization or cultivar did not influence the ability to maintain sugar beet quality in large outdoor piles. The lengthremoval method of pile management had better quality sugar beets compared with the standard end-removal method. Hence, sugar beet producers do not need to modify production practices to optimize storability, but sugar beet processors can improve sucrose recovery by removing sugar beets lengthwise along both sides of large piles as opposed to the standard end-removal method.