Because new sugarbeet varieties are coming online to growers at a steady pace, Michigan Research Education Advisory Council (REACh) Seed Week plays a vital role in helping growers’ select new varieties. Traditionally to get all the variety information, growers have had to endure multiple meetings from different seed and sugar companies. In any given year this could amount to 5 or more meetings for an individual grower. Complicating matters even more, private seed company meetings are often biased to their product. Thus making it very time consuming and difficult for growers to sort out which variety may perform best. The Michigan Research Education Advisory Council (REACh) decided there must be a better way to help growers select varieties. Under REACh leadership, an educational program called “Seed Week” was developed.
In the USA all varieties must pass minimum standards determined by each growing area to be approved for planting. The two primary criteria include recoverable sugar per ton and recoverable sugar acre. This helps to assure factories will be delivered a quality product that improves processing efficiency. Other standards do include disease tolerance, insect resistance, and emergence. These different genetic traits in each variety do result in significant differences in yield and emergence. Xbeet treated varieties can improve genetics significantly by increasing speed of emergence, along with producing a more consistent stand establishment.
About Seed Week
Seed Week is a series of five meetings held in the first week of December. The meetings take place in different beet growing areas in Michigan. What is truly unique about this program it involves all seed entities that sell seed and/or conduct varietal research. In Michigan, this includes four seed companies, Michigan Sugar Company and Michigan State Universities Sugarbeet Advancement program. The program itself is 3 ½ hour long where each entity can present research results, varietal information and seed treatments available. With time management in mind, this program educates growers in one nonbiased meeting with all the information related to varieties.
This program has become the “Go To” meeting for Michigan growers. Surveys conducted have indicated over 95 percent growers who attend this program use the information as their primary source of information for variety selection. Results have been impressive. Michigan has become the industry leader in sugarbeet quality producing an 18 ½ percent sugar in 2017 and sustaining a ½ ton annual yield increase in the last several years.
For more information about the Michigan Research Education Advisory Council (REACh), Seed Week. Contact Germains Sales Agronomist, Steve Poindexter.