Sugar beet growers who have not yet assessed crop populations and evenness of establishment should do so now to aid future planning, the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) has advised.

Many advanced crops have already met in the rows and some have 12+ leaves and are half way to meeting across the rows, it said.

When counting plants, growers are reminded to also identify the number and pattern of any gaps and late emerging beet, as this could be a sign of drilling or feeding by birds or mice. It suggests a good plant population is at least 75,000 plants/ha, up to 100,000/ha.

Other problems, such as lines and stripes across the field could indicate poor seedbed conditions and may have been caused during seedbed preparation or earlier (e.g. during ploughing or fertiliser application).

For more information, see the latest BBRO Advisory Bulleting, which is available at www.uksugarbeet.co.uk