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Sugar Beets

Sugar beets account for about 1.2 million acres of crops grown in the United States. The root of the sugar beet is comprised of highly concentrated sucrose, which is harvested and processed for sugar. At harvest, sugar beet yield is measured by the percent concentration of sugar and the number of tons per acre.  

A sugar beet crop is very susceptible to nutrient deficiencies which result in loss of crop quality and reduction of overall yield. To maximize sugar content and yield, sugar beets require the application of various nutrients throughout the season.  

Use the images below to diagnose nutrient deficiencies in your sugar beet fields. 

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nitrogen
Nitrogen is mobile in the plant. Symptoms will appear as chlorosis first on lower leaves and stunted plant growth.
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is responsible for capturing and converting the sun’s energy. Plants deficient in phosphorus will often have a purple color.
Potassium
Potassium is mobile within the plant, causing deficiency symptoms to appear first in older leaves. Leaf symptoms appear as yellowing to necrosis on the outer edge of leaves.
Sulfur
Sulfur appears in every living cell and is important for photosynthesis. Plants deficient in sulfur will be stunted and pale green in color.
Zinc
The availability of zinc decreases as soil pH increases. Zinc aids in the synthesis of plant-growth substances and enzyme systems. Symptoms appear as chlorosis on larger leaves starting in the center of the plant.
Boron
Boron results in reduced growth of young leaves. Young leaves will appear small and crinkled.

Additional Resources

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