With weed beet starting to bolt, sugar beet growers need to take action to prevent seed returning to the soil, the British Beet Research Organisation has advised.

An average of one weed beet per square metre will result in 15 million seeds shed per hectare and with some seed surviving in the soil for up to 18 years, early control is essential, said the BBRO’s Mike May.

He recommends pulling weeds where populations are low (<1,000/ha), wiping up to 10,000/ha weed and cutting where populations are over 10,000/ha.

“Pulling should start before the end of flowering, wiping approximately 14 days after the first flowers are seen and cutting a little later, just before the first viable seed is seen but it is better to be a little too early than too late.”

More details can be found in the Growers Guide www.uksugarbeet.co.uk