Home News Michigan Ag News A “Challenging” Season For Michigan Sugarbeet Producers Coming to an End

A “Challenging” Season For Michigan Sugarbeet Producers Coming to an End

A sure sign of warm weather, sugarbeets coming up in Michigan behind  @RobGerstenberg2  home. Photo: Betaseed Twitter
A sure sign of warm weather, sugarbeets coming up in Michigan behind
@RobGerstenberg2 home. Photo: Betaseed Twitter

The Michigan Ag Today Sugarbeet Planting report is brought to you by Betaseed: where research breeds confidence.

After planting and replanting for roughly 10 weeks, sugarbeet planting is almost complete in Michigan. According to USDA’s Crop Progress Report, 97 percent of the beets have been planted.

If the planting season could be summed up in just one word, Rob Gerstenberger, Betaseed sales manager, said it would be “challenging.”

“It has been an awfully tough spring with the cold weather and extraordinarily large amount of replant that we had,” he said. “Right now, we’re on track for an awfully nice crop.”

Planting beets in the middle of March comes with a risk of replant. Between cold and wet weather, Gerstenberger said by his estimates, there have been a lot of replanting.

“I have been doing this job for 20 years, and I haven’t seen a replant scenario like we had this year,” he said. “We had at least 10 times the replants this year than normal.”

Last week, flooding in the Saginaw Bay area was a concern to some beet growers. Gerstenberger talked with one farmer by the Saginaw River that has two feet of water on his field. At this time, he’s unsure if the field would even be replanted. Thankfully, Gerstenberger hasn’t heard many stories like that.

“There are a few cases where it’s still up in the air because of the water, but I don’t think a large amount of acreage has been impacted,” he said.

As we head into the summer growing season, Gerstenberger mentioned farmers are in maintenance mode. Growers have started to apply herbicides and insecticides, and are getting ready to spray fungicides to prevent rhizoctonia.

“Quadris applications are probably going to be a good idea,” said Gerstenberger. “Especially this year with all the stress the plants have been through already, and especially if we’re saturated with water.”

USDA’s latest Crop Progress Report shows that 81 percent of Michigan’s sugarbeets are rated in fair to excellent condition. Gerstenberger says that’s a good foundation to set up a successful campaign going into the fall.