Amalgamated Sugar Co. Sugarbeet Quality Improvement (SBQI) team showcases the research they are doing during the summer at the Amalgamated Sugar Research Field Day. Attendees include growers, crop consultants and industry personnel interested in the research SBQI is performing. This year some of the topics the SBQI team is looking at include; an official variety trial, a curly top nursery, variety storage trials, seed treatment storage trial, green manure and cover crops. Trials are essential to the sugarbeet industry so we may continually improve sugarbeet production practices.
About Amalgamated Sugar Research Field Day
Amalgamated Sugar Research Field Day takes place at the research farm next to the Mini-Cassia factory. An Official Variety Trial (OVT) is located on the farm, and other research trials are next to the OVT. Variety trials are used to determine which new sugarbeet varieties that will be allowed to be grown for the cooperative. The Curly Top Virus is a disease affecting sugarbeet production in Amalgamated’s growing region. Amalgamated Sugar uses the curly top nursery to determine which seed varieties are resistant to curly top and is used in conjunction with OVT to approve new varieties.
Storage of sugarbeets is always a concern for Amalgamated Sugar. One trial focuses on how well individual varieties store. Another trial looks at how bruising affects the storability of sugarbeets. For example, they examine if gentler harvesting methods will improve storage ability and extend the length of time beets store in piles. Another trial tests whether or not combinations of seed treatments can reduce sugar loss during storage and how they store after several months.
The next topic of interest to growers is the use of cover crops and green manures to reduce nematode pressure and improve soil quality. Varieties of radishes and mustards have been found to reduce nematode populations for sugarbeet production. With chemical control of nematodes are becoming very costly, cover crops are gaining momentum. One item of concern is that growers must be careful not to use radish and or mustard varieties that are known to increase nematode counts.
Another attraction at the Amalgamated Sugar Research Field was the root pit display. The root pit is an excellent method to display the development of sugarbeets roots and the five-foot soil profile. Depending on compaction and hardpans, the beet roots can grow only to the plow layer or they can go several feet deep. This display is an excellent method for educating growers about soil health and root development.
The field day event is essential for the success of the cooperative because the research is specific for Amalgamated Sugar’s growing area. This event saves valuable time for the growers by providing a “one-stop” field day full of relevant research and educational field displays specific to their region and cultivation practices that can help improve their odds of achieving successful crops.