Fodder Beet

Fodder beet (Beta vulgaris) is increasing in popularity due to their reputation for very large, high quality yields. Fodder beet are sown from early October through mid-December, with the potential yield being closely linked to time in the ground.

More recently Agricom has linked with a world leading French fodder beet breeding program to access new genetics for improved yield and quality.

Pre-sowing

It is important to get a soil test at least six months before sowing fodder beet as it is very sensitive to low pH levels in the soil, with a pH of at least 6 being required and ideally 6.2. Any soil nutrient correction should be made prior to sowing.

Paddocks should be sprayed with glyphosate and a contact insecticide (e.g. chlorpyrifos) prior to working. Soils should ideally be free-draining and relatively free of weeds. The soils should be worked into a fine tilth before sowing to allow for even sowing depth.

A general fertiliser recommendation is: pre-sowing; CropZeal 16 at 150-200 kg/ha plus NaCl (salt) at 350 kg/ha. Sulphur, boron and magnesium may be beneficial on some soil types.

It is important when choosing the paddock to ensure that there has been no recent history of chemical use a fodder beet is very sensitive to residual chemicals.

Sowing

A 'stale seedbed' technique to remove weed competition is best. This is where a seedbed is prepared at least 4-6 weeks before planting, and germinating weeds are sprayed with a non residual herbicide immediately before planting.

Depending on location sowing between mid-September and mid-October is generally recommended. Earlier sowings risk vernalisation causing bolting, while later sowing reduces yield potential and germination may be hindered in areas prone to dry summers.

A precision drill is recommended for sowing fodder beet. This will place the seed at the correct depth (2 cm), and space plants accurately ensuring the correct sowing rate.

Post-sowing

Due to slow establishment and the time taken to form a leaf canopy, early and timely weed and insect control is essential; please contact your local seed retailer or chemical representative for more details.

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