Organic sugar beets E17
Larsson, H.1 ; Bramstorp, A.2 Bramstorp, A.
1) Dept of Plant Protection Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden; 2) Danisco Sugar AB, Agricultural Dept, Malmö, Sweden
|Sugar from organically grown sugar beets has
been produced in a small scale since 1994 and the demand for this sugar is increasing. In
1994 an extensive development work was initiated by and is carried out in cooperation
between Danisco Sugar AB and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Weed an pest
control are the two major problems in organical as well as conventional sugar beet
growing. Therefore these are the main topics of the development work.
Since sugar beets are drilled, the weed control between the rows is rather easy. The great challenge is to manage the weed control in the row. Conventional technique such as a row cultivator may be equipped with special cultivator tools. One may also use weed harrows, flaming equipment, brushers and rolling harrows. A more radical way is to use a modified row cultivator across the rows. This technique seems promising but initially it requires higher plant densities than the other techniques for weed control.
Some years the establishment of sugar beets without a protective seed dressing against soil living pests can be difficult. To minimize the effects of soil pests such as Onychiurus armatus, Thrips angusticeps and Atomaria linearis the seed rate has had to be increased. Sowing of barley between the rows can decrease damages of host pests and in the same time give a better climate to the seedlings. Other development work includes planting of sugar beets, optimal plant and row spacing, application of green manure and compost from household waste. Organically grown sugar beets show good economy if the conditions such as soil fertility, crop rotation and weed density are favorable.