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University of Minnesota Extension

Fertilizing sugarbeet in Minnesota

Map of Minnesota with areas along the northwestern to mid-western border and an area in the south central to western region shaded in gray to indicate sugarbeet growing areas.
Sugarbeet growing regions in Minnesota shaded in gray

The three grower-owned cooperatives in Minnesota and North Dakota vary in their payment programs. Some programs pay strictly on net sucrose quality, determined by sugarbeet root quantity and quality. Others incentivize higher quality sugarbeet roots. In both cases we determine quality by the concentration of sucrose and impurities in the root that need to be separated during the refining process.

Optimum sugarbeet production in Minnesota and North Dakota relies on a sound soil fertility program to enhance sugar beet quality.







Other nutrients

Research has not demonstrated a widespread need for secondary macronutrients and micronutrients for sugarbeet production. Deficiencies of magnesium, calcium or sodium are not expected in the Minnesota and North Dakota sugarbeet growing areas.


Nutrient concerns for crops following sugarbeet

Work from North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota’s Northwest Research and Outreach Center indicate that nitrogen credits should be given for nitrogen in the sugarbeet tops for crops such as small grains and corn grown after the sugarbeet crop in rotation. If sugarbeet top growth is lush and green, the credit could be as great as 70 pounds N per acre.

Research in southern Minnesota has not confirmed the N credit of sugarbeet tops for corn production following sugarbeet in the rotation. If you are growing corn following sugarbeet in the rotation, you should consider using a starter application of 40 pounds phosphate per acre. If the EDTA zinc soil test is low, also include 2 pounds of zinc in the starter.

Authors: Daniel E. Kaiser, Lindsay Pease and John A. Lamb, Extension soil and plant nutrient management specialists and Keith Piotrowski, director of the soil testing laboratory

Reviewed in 2023

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