Sugar beet crops are being over-fertilised, grower told

Much of the sugar beet crop was being over-fertilised and there were opportunities to make savings on fertiliser use, Andy Wing of British Sugar told growers at the Norfolk BBRO open day.

“The costs of applying fertiliser to the sugar beet crop have gone up from £1.50-£2/t to £3.50-£4/t in one year, due to the price increase in fertilisers,” he pointed out.

Potash and sodium applications both represented opportunities to save money, he suggested. “Although the sugar beet crop has more of a demand for potash than it does for phosphate, there are situations where it isn’t needed.”

The confusion comes when deciding if you need a maintenance or a build-up application, or both, he continued. “If the soil index is a 3 or above, there’s no need to apply any potash. If it’s at 2, then you only need a 100kg maintenance dressing.”

Sodium requirements were currently under discussion, he said. “Again, there won’t be any response from this element if the index is at 3 or above.”