Sugar beet is an important technical crop. It is used both for sugar production and as fodder for cattle breeding. This plant is the only source of sugar production in Azerbaijan.
Sugar beet root crops contain an average of 16-20% sugar. During the processing of root crop of the sugar beet in the factory, wastes such as presscake and patka (thick mass), which are of great economic importance, are obtained. The dry matter of the waste contains up to 60% sugar, 15% nitrogen-free extractive substances and 8-9% ash. Wastes obtained after processing of sugar are used for the production of alcohol, glycerin, food yeast, lactic and citric acid, pectin glue. Based on the dry matter after pressing presscake, it contains 15% dry matter, including 10% nitrogen-free extractive substance, 3% cellulose, 0,7% ash, 0,1% fat and 1,2% crude protein. Presscake is a valuable fodder for cattle. Each centner of the waste is equal to 80-85 feed units. When 30 tons of beets are harvested per hectare, the presscake output is 24 tons. At the same time, this waste is used as fertilizer in farms. This fertilizer contains 40-50% lime, 15% organic acid, 0,2-1,7% nitrogen, 0,2-0,8 phosphorus, 0,5-0,9% potassium.
Sugar beet Sugar beet must be cultivated in weed-free, fruitful plantations sufficiently supplied with moisture. The best forecrops for sugar beet are fertilized autumn wheat, autumn barley, corn, annual cereals and legumes. Sugar beet itself is a good forecrop for various plants - corn, millet, cereals and legumes. It would be better to return the sugar beet to its plantation after 3-4 years.Sugar beet loves mild heat. Its seeds begin to germinate at a temperature of 4-5°C, but the seedlings rise (25-28 days) late to the soil surface. A temperature of 15-20°C is required (5-6 days) for obtaining outputs quickly. Sugar beets are very sensitive to frost during the first period of germination. Frosts of 3-4°C can destroy the plant. As the first pair of true leaves is formed, the cold resistance increases and the beet can withstand frosts of 4-6°C. The optimum temperature for assimilation is 20-23°C. At temperatures below 6-8°C, the accumulation of sugar in the root crop stops. The favourable temperature for the formation of reproductive buds on the head of the root crop is 15-23°C. In autumn, the vegetation of beet stops at a temperature of 2-4°C. An active temperature of 2200-2600°C is required to create a normally grown root crop.Sugar beet loves weakly alkaline and neutral reaction soils (pH = 7,0-7,5). Soil reaction below pH=6 adversely affects plant growth and is exposed to pests and diseases. Height and development featuresIn the first year, the following eight developmental phases of the sugar beet plant are recorded: seed germination, outputs chatal (chatal in Turkish - fork), 1st pair of leaves, 2-3 pairs of leaves, 7th leaf, closing of row spaces, opening of row spaces and beginning of the technical maturity. Soil cultivationIn the cultivation, weeds are mainly destroyed and reserve soil moisture is maintained. At the same time or immediately after the harvesting of autumn crops, the straw is covered by disc coaters at a depth of 5-7 cm, and in the plantations littered with rhizomatous weeds by gavahı coaters at a depth of 12-14 cm. In order to strengthen the germination of weed seeds, deceptive irrigation in the volume of 600-700 m3/ha is carried out in the field after covering and the field is ploughed after 3-4 weeks. One of the main problems in the fields where sugar beets are planted is exposure of the soil to compaction, which seriously affects the normal development of roots. Therefore, in the fields where beets are planted, it is necessary to soften the soil to a depth of 35-45 cm using a deep softener or rapper without turning the soil over.Pre-sowing preparation is carried out 3-4 days prior to the beet sowing. Before pre-sowing cultivation, it is necessary to create a moisture reserve in the soil at a depth of 10-15 cm. Once this is achieved, the seed bed is prepared by carrying out cultivation works at a depth of 8-10 cm with a complex cultivator. At the same time, the sprouted weeds are destroyed. Pre-sowing cultivation is carried out at an angle to the direction of plouhing.
Agrotechnical careSugar beet is a plant that requires mineral nutrition. With one tonne of root crop and corresponding surface mass, sugar beet carries 4-7 kg of nitrogen, 1,0-3,5 kg of phosphorus and 5-9 kg of potassium element from the soil. It is very important to provide organic and mineral fertilizers to get high yields. Fertilizer rate is planned depending on the forecrop and the degree of nutrient supply of the soil. Green fertilizers also significantly increase productivity. For this purpose, after harvesting the autumn grains, peas, soybeans, adonis, lupins are sown and ploughed in late September. Fertilizers must be applied to sugar beet by balance method according to the planned poduct. In order to get 500 sentners of root crops per hectare in the conditions of open chestnut irrigated lands of the republic, 20 tonnes of manure and N140P150K100 as an active substance must be applied per hectare. The remaining part of the phosphorus and potassium must be applied under the main plough, 30% of nitrogen under pre-sowing cultivation, and 70% as feeding fertilizer 2 times - half in 3-4 pairs of leaves phase and the second time in 7-8 pairs of true leaves phase until the row spaces join. Applying 1,5 kg of boron and 2,2-2,6 kg of manganese as an active substance per hectare gives good results.
Preparation of seeds for sowingMany elements of sugar beet cultivation technology - sowing rate, sowing method, plant density, etc. depends on the quality of the seed to be planted. Hybrid seeds are used for sowing. Laboratory germination energy of the seed to be sown must not be less than 85%, germination capacity must not be less than 90% and purity must not be less than 98%. The seeds are polished, calibrated and enriched with nutrients, treated against complex diseases and processed with microelements. Sugar beet must be sown at a depth of 5-6 cm of the soil at a temperature of 7-8°C. Sowing must be completed in a short period - 3-5 days. In most regions of the republic, sugar beet can be sown in late February - early March. The best sowing method under irrigation conditions is a wide row dotted-line sowing with a row space of 45-50 cm. To get 600-700 sentners of root crops, it is enough to have 100 thousand plants per hectare prior to harvesting. In irrigation zones with a row space of 45 cm, the distance between plants is 18 cm, and in case the distance is 50 cm, it will be 16 cm. At present, as precise seeding techniques are used, the distance between the seeds is expected and there is no need to thin out as normal seedlings are obtained. When the soil is well prepared for sowing and high quality seeds are used for sowing, it is recommended to sow 10-15 seeds per meter row and keep 6-7 seedlings. During sowing, the unit must move at a speed of 4-5 km per hour. Depending on the granulometric composition of the soil, the seeds must be buried to a depth of 2,5-3 cm in heavy gray soils, 3-5 cm in light and medium clayey chestnut, hazel and brown soils, and 2-3 cm in straw crops. Crop care includes vegetation irrigation, cultivation of row spaces, application of feeding fertilizer, and control of weeds, diseases, and pests. The measures is started before the outputs are obtained. Depending on weather conditions, beet seedlings are obtained 8-20 days after sowing. During this period, weeds may form, and there is a possibility of crusting on the soil surface. Therefore, after obtaining the output, the germination of weeds, the depth at which they emerge, and the amount of moisture in the soil must be controlled by monitorings. Sugar beet is very sensitive to being weeded. Usually a large number of weed varieties are found in sugar beet plantations. All beet sower countries of the world cultivate sugar beet by applying herbicides. If weeding is observed immediately after the output, herbicide spraying must be carried out. The soil must not be dry during herbicide sowing, and must not be sprayed in windy, rainy, cold weather, as well as immediately after irrigation or rain. First of all, make sure that the spray tank is clean, washed after the previous use and use clean water. After the spray tank is half full, the mixer is started and the specified amount of medicine is added to the tank. Safety rules must be followed when carrying out these operations.At the beginning and end of the vegetation, the total vegetation irrigation rate is 9000-9500 m3/ha. In mid-summer, beets grow rapidly and consumes large amounts of water. Therefore, irrigation rates must be increased compared to previous development phases. The number, duration and rate of irrigation depend on soil and climatic conditions and the condition of the plant.In the fight against diseases and pests of the sugar beet, first of all, agrotechnical and biological control methods must be used. Chemicals can be used in special cases. Sugar beets are damaged by various insects. These include beet flea, leaf and root aphis, leaf-eating caterpillars, meadow butterflies, wireworms, mined flies, and so on. For this purpose, along with high agrotechnical measures, biological and chemical control methods must be applied. Trichogramma and biopreparations are used as a biological control measure.Sugar beet is damaged by powdery mildew, rust, sercospora, root rot, manginess, pernosporiosis, viral disease mosaic, jaundice, chlorosis and other diseases. The main method to protect the plant from diseases is a preventive - first of all, agrotechnical, biological method that provides reduction in the amount of pathogens in the soil and seeds. Seeds must be treated with fungicides against diseases, and it is very important to follow the crop rotation. Crop harvestingThe accumulation of sugar in sugar beet continues until the average daily air temperature drops to 6-8°C. Such a temperature is observed in our republic in the first half of November. Therefore, harvesting of sugar beet must begin in early October and be completed by November 10. Towards the end of the vegetation, the nutrients in the leaves flow to the root crop, and the leaves gradually turn yellow and dry out. Harvesting is carried out in connection with technical maturity, ie the percentage of sugar in the root crops. If there are green leafy massifs in the plantation, harvesting must be delayed.