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ADV0253 Enhancing sugar beet storage quality - Final Report

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Title: ADV0253 Enhancing sugar beet storage quality - Final Report
Author: Van Eerd, L.L.; Zandstra, J.W.
Abstract: Once harvested, the majority of Ontario sugarbeets are stored, typically over 120 days, in large piles until processed to extract raw white sugar. Little is known about the impact of crop fertility or crop variety on storage losses of sugarbeets in large piles. The objective of this research project is to investigate the impact of crop nitrogen fertility and variety on storage losses (sugar losses, losses due to rots) of sugar beets stored in large piles. A lack of storage time x variety interaction in any of the 3 storage years covered by this trial indicate that the ability to store over a period of time in a large pile environment is similar among varieties presently used in Ontario. Within varieties, several demonstrated a smaller reduction in sugar content when averaged across all storage times while weight loss, % purity and RWSA did not differ. Based on three field seasons, RWSA, and grower payout ($/ac) the most economical rate of N was approximately 100 lb N/ac. Despite differences in the % N content of beets going into storage, N fertility (N rate or timing) had no impact on storability. Soil and plant N analysis indicated decreased nitrogen use efficiency when 100 vs. 200 lb N/ac was applied but no difference when N fertilizer was applied at planting vs. at sidedress. Based on data from the 2009-10 campaign, there was no influence of N fertility, cercospora disease ratings, variety or fungicide spray program on the ability to store beets in large outdoor piles. Sugarbeet quality was highest at harvest and tended to slightly decline over the all storage seasons. The SPAD® meter, which measures chlorophyll content, appears to be a promising tool in the future to predict yield and quality, but requires more research under different production systems. Thus, over three storage seasons (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10), nitrogen rate and timing of application did not appear to influence the ability of beets to store over 100 days under ideal large pile storage conditions. Thus there is no need for growers to modify N fertilization or variety selection practices. It should be noted that environmental conditions during all storage periods were close to ideal. This report summarizes all four growing seasons and three storage seasons of a four-year project.
Description: Final Report June 2006 - May 2010. Submitted May 2010
Date: 2010-05
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