- Elements of IPM for Beets in New York State
- Crop Profile for Beets in New York
- Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management
Varieties differ in root color, shape and time to maturity.
Below are commonly used varieties in New York:
- Avalanche (white)
- Chioggia Guardsmark (red and white rings)
- Detroit Dark Red (red)
- Falcon (red)
- Merlin (red)
- Red Ace (red)
- Ruby Queen (red)
- Touchstone Gold (yellow)
- Crosby (greens or roots)
14.2 Planting Methods
The beet is a cool-season, root vegetable that tolerates frosts and mild freezes. Seed germinates at soil temperatures between 40° and 90°F, optimally 50° to 85°F. Because beet plants withstand cool growing conditions and the seed germinates at soil temperatures below 50°F, planting can begin in late April. The best root quality and color are obtained when the crop matures during cool temperatures and bright sunlight. When grown under warm conditions, root color is lighter, sugar content is lower, and color zoning in roots is more pronounced than under cool conditions.
Beets are biennial, normally producing an enlarged root the first growing season and, after a cold induction period, a seedstalk. Premature seedstalk initiation can occur if the plants are subjected to two to three weeks of temperatures below 45°F after they have several true leaves. Plants of some varieties initiate premature seedstalks more readily than others; many of the newer varieties are less sensitive to this problem.
Well-drained, sandy loam to silt loam soil is preferred for best growth and quality. Beets can also be grown on muck soil, but weed control is difficult. A soil with good structure is highly recommended because beets respond favorably to aeration.
A beet seedball normally contains from two to four viable seeds, and more plants than seedballs may result, especially if conditions are favorable for germination. Larger seedballs contain more seeds than do smaller seedballs. Desired plant spacing is obtained by adjusting seeding rate. Plants are sometimes thinned for the fresh market. See Table 14.2.1 Recommended spacing.
- Do Rotations Matter within Disease Management Programs?
- Cropping sequences and root health
- Cornell cover crop decision tool
Table 14.2.1 Recommended spacing
|In-row seeding rate1
(in pounds per acre)
|1: The lower rate of seed is sown early, so the roots will size quickly for early harvest.|
Use lime to maintain a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 in all parts of the field. Beets are especially sensitive to low pH and should not be planted in soil with a pH below 6.0. Because beets use boron inefficiently, this element must be applied to most soils in New York. A boron deficiency causes plant foliage to be stunted and distorted, and roots exhibit symptoms of internal breakdown. Boron is less available in high pH soils. Apply 2-1/2 to 5 pounds of boron per acre mixed with fertilizer. Use the lower rate if nutrients have been applied two to three times in the previous five years. Boron is toxic to many plants and care must be taken when developing a rotation plan. Beans, peas, and cucurbits are especially sensitive to boron residues. See Table 14.3.1 for the recommended rates of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Cornell cover crop decision tool
- Closing the phosphorus cycle on vegetable farms: releasing soil-bound phosphorus to support springtime seedling growth
- Test soil samples at the Cornell Nutrient Analysis Lab
- Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health website and manual
- Building Soils for Better Crops
- Managing Cover Crops Profitably
Table 14.3.1 Recommended nutrients based on soil tests
|N pounds/acre||P2O5 pounds/acre||K2O pounds/acre||Comments|
|Soil Phosphorus Level||Soil Potassium Level|
|25-50||75||25||0||240||180||120||Broadcast and disk-in.|
|25||75||75||50||75||50||50||Band place with seeder.|
|50||0||0||0||0||0||0||Apply 4 weeks after planting.|
|50||0||0||0||0||0||0||Apply 6 weeks after planting.|
For fresh market, the crop is usually ready for harvest in 60 to 85 days. The processing crop is harvested in 90 to 110 days, but a thick plant stand can be held in the field for a relatively long time. Processing beets are usually harvested until mid-November. Yields for the fresh market range from eight to 12 tons per acre and approximately 15 to 20 tons per acre for processing.
Machine harvesters are used for the processing crop and for the market crop that is sold topped. Beets for bunching are handpicked and tied. Topped beets can be stored for several months at temperatures near 32°F and 95 to 98 percent relative humidity.
- National Good Agricultural Practices Program
- USDA grade standards for
- USDA Agricultural Marketing Service site
- Current wholesale prices from US markets
- Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers
14.5 Disease Management
14.6 Insect Management
- Cornell Vegetables
- Cornell High Tunnels program
- Biological Control: A Guide to Natural Enemies in North America
- IPM Vegetable Fact Sheets
- Pests in the Northeastern United States
- Plant Disease Diagnosis Clinic
- Vegetable MD Online
- Measuring Environmental Impact of Pesticides
- Northeast IPM Center
- Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health
- Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health – The Cornell Framework Manual
- USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Publications (SARE)
- Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA)
- Cornell Small Farms Program
- Take on-line courses in IPM for pesticide recertification credits
- Cornell Cooperative Extension Pesticide Management Education Program
Maintained by Abby Seaman, New York State IPM Program. Last modified 2019.