Storage of Sugarbeet
Here’s how to store sugarbeets properly and minimise storage losses and sugar losses
In the future, longer processing campaigns will be targeted in Germany. Consequently, the amount of beets to be stored, storage days and thus the risk of storage losses will increase. However, storage losses cannot be completely avoided.
Keep sugar losses low
Storing sugarbeet causes sugar losses and the accumulation of undesirable ingredients such as invert sugar, which can severely affect the processing quality of the beet in the factory.
The main causes of conversion processes during storage are:
- Wound healing
- Pathogen attack
In addition, there are other factors such as the conditions of storage, harvesting and growing, which influence the level of storage losses of sugarbeets.
Learn more about conditions during storage, harvest and cultivation that influence the amount of storage losses of sugarbeets and what you have to look out for to prevent them here:
- Homogeneous crops with uniform crown heights of the beets facilitate optimal topping when harvesting
- healthy beets without stress conditions during cultivation ⁃ In case of attack with Rhizoctonia: only partially storable
- Site-adapted variety selection
- Storing healthy beets
- Low stocking (soil, weeds) provides for optimal ventilation in the field
- In any case, observe these storage temperatures:
- High influence on sugar content
- Lowest possible temperature in the field, but above freezing
- Higher temperature leads to higher breathability of the beets (respiration) and thus to higher sugar losses
- Frost in the field leads to the freezing of the beets
- Good harvesting conditions (dry, frost-free)
- Harvest before frost damage to the beets
- Optimal topping
- Beets that are topped too low or obliquely need more
- energy for wound healing; a large cross-sectional area serves as an entry port for pathogens
- Clean beets with little damage and few broken tips
- Optimum field arrangement
- Should be scheduled before the harvest if possible
- Good accessibility
- Flat and firm ground
- Good drainage
- Do not align broadside of field to main wind direction
- with fleece and wind protection material to protect against rain and frost
How much you can influence the optimal storage of your beets:
|Virtually no influence possible||
|Can be influenced||
|Can be strongly influenced||
What you should consider before sowing
Choosing a variety specific to the site can help you grow beets with the highest possible shelf-life.
KWS has been involved in national and international research projects on the shelf-life of beets for many years and carries out its own tests in order to continuously improve the shelf-life of KWS varieties.
It is known that in the long-term storage of sugarbeet under frost-free conditions, there are differences in storage losses of different varieties under the same cultivation and storage conditions. However, compared to other influencing factors on the storage losses of sugarbeets such as storage period, temperature and damage to the beet body at harvest, this type of influence is relatively low.
Storage experiments are very extensive and associated with high costs. As a result, the shelf-life of sugarbeets has not been tested as part of the marketing approval. In research and breeding, work is under way to identify indirect features that allow conclusions to be drawn about their storage before beets are stored. This is absolutely necessary for an efficient and targeted selection for suitable candidates in the breeding process as well as for official variety testing.
In a recently completed experiment at the Institute for Sugarbeet Research in Göttingen, genotypes with a high content of marrow had less fouling and mould during storage. The marrow content represents the insoluble cell wall components. Thus, improved resistance to attacks from bacteria and fungi could be due to non-specific resistance from increased cell wall stability. Whether the marrow content is a reliable criterion for variety performance during storage must be assessed in further tests. The assumption that high-marrow varieties also have high sugar contents and thus higher storage stability has not been shown in previously published studies.
From a breeding point of view, further tests must be carried out to determine whether the marrow content of sugarbeets provides long-term reliable results for differentiating the shelf-life of varieties. Furthermore, the relationship between the adjusted sugar yield and the shelf-life must be examined. Only then can a targeted and correct variety description/recommendation be made.