Apr 16 2019

Adjuvant & Biostimulant Insight: Best start key to Sugar Beet success

Establishing a fit and healthy crop free from weed competition is critical in the production of a high yielding sugar beet crop destined to yield 100+ t/ha. We look at how Backrow and Bridgeway/Zonda can help crops get off to the best start.

From emergence through to 6TL, sugar beet is extremely vulnerable to weed competition, where poor control can limit yield by as much as 30%. Early control of yield robbing weeds such as redshank and knotgrass can be best achieved with the addition of adjuvant Backrow to pre-emergence sprays. Backrow will improve coverage and help retain herbicides and moisture in the top 5cm of soil for up to 8 weeks.

At the pre-emergence spray timing the target is the soil, so the aim is to maximise coverage with the herbicide spray. Whilst fine spray nozzles typically used at this timing will increase coverage by producing a large number of small droplets, they will be prone to drift, compromising weed control. Low drift nozzles are designed to alleviate drift, but they increase the risk of crop phytotoxicity by loading a higher concentration of herbicide through a coarser spray. Engineering the water with an adjuvant that reduces drift and improves coverage is a cost effective method of boosting weed control by as much as 13% without the threat to crop safety.

The second challenge, especially in dry light soils, is retaining the herbicide in the top 5cm of soil long enough to control flushes of weeds. This is where adjuvants such as Backrow can be particularly effective and reduce the risk of herbicides leaching into water and root zone of the crop.

Adding Backrow to pre-emergence herbicides:

  • Increases herbicide : weed contact
  • Improves efficacy in dry conditions
  • Increases longevity of weed control
  • Improves crop safety

Protecting beet health early on

After emergence, early applications of biostimulant Bridgeway or Zonda can help to optimise beet health in the critical establishment phase. It is well known that there is strong correlation between harnessing light energy and final yield. Bridgeway and Zonda can increase biomass and chlorophyll production, both key to sunlight absorption. 

Bridgeway and Zonda improve plant health by:
  • Increasing photosynthesis – increases metabolic efficiency
  • Improving rooting – increases the crop’s ability to access water and nutrients
  • Anti-stress – produces fitter plants with greater resilience to disease and environmental stress
  • Improving nutrient uptake – produces healthier crops that can build yield for longer
  • Building tap root size and increasing sugars – builds yield and quality 

In 2018 trials Bridgeway increased yield by up to 11 t/ha when applied in a programme

Bridgeway increased yield significantly at every application timing - August lift

Source: CMI Grantham, 2018. Sugar beet harvested 28th August. P=<0.001 for yield and beet weight.

Bridgeway increased yield at every timing - October lift

Source: CMI Grantham, 2018. Sugar beet harvested 22nd October. P=0.04. SD = Statistically significant difference to the untreated.

2018 trial results summary:

  • In 2018 replicated trials, Bridgeway increased yield at every application timing
  • In the August lift trial – all Bridgeway applications gave statistically significant yield increases
  • In the October lift trial – Bridgeway applications at 6TL and in programmes gave statistically significant yield increases
  • The best single application timing giving the highest yield was at 6TL in both trials
  • In both trials, the highest yields were achieved where Bridgeway was applied in a programme of 3 applications: 2 L/ha applied at 2TL + 4TL + 6TL

Recommended application timings in Sugar Beet

Application summary for best results:

  • Get on top of weeds early to prevent yield threats
  • For best results, apply Backrow alongside pre-emergence herbicides to optimise weed control
  • Add Backrow 1st to the spray tank after water and apply Backrow at 0.4 L/ha
  • Applications of Bridgeway or Zonda from 2-4 TL can help to improve beet health and resilience to stress
  • Follow up with Bridgeway or Zonda at 6-8 TL and at tap root increasing to maximise yield and sugars
  • When applying with crop protection products, add Bridgeway or Zonda to the spray tank first
  • Where tank mixing herbicides and Bridgeway or Zonda, the addition of oil MUST BE AVOIDED for crop safety