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Nordzucker Post 2/2024 - 23 May 2024

Smart Beet Initiative 2024: “Testing new approaches in sugar beet cultivation”

From herbicide reduction to insect monitoring, from temperature measurements in beet piles to the use of the rotary hoe – the topics of this year’s Smart Beet Initiative (SBI) are as wide-ranging as the requirements in beet cultivation. Since 2019, Nordzucker has been working with farmers in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia to develop solutions to optimise regional sugar beet cultivation. This year, 28 field demonstrations are planned.

Over the past five years, the SBI has established itself as an effective platform. Through this initiative, Nordzucker provides farmers with practicable solutions for future challenges in beet cultivation. “The Green Deal raises many questions for agriculture for which there is no single ad hoc solution, for example when it comes to reducing important crop protection products or restricting fertilisation,” says Björn Kiepe, Head of Agri Consulting& Shared Agri Services. “To harmonise ecology and economy, we are working together to test smart technologies and trial practicable procedures for competitive and even more sustainable sugar beet cultivation.”

To reduce the use of pesticides, for example, hoeing robots can be used to mechanically remove weeds. This autonomous process for beet cultivation needs to be developed further. The SBI is promoting these and other innovative methods in order to establish them more quickly in agricultural practice. This is a win-win situation, as the results are shared with our beet growers at the field days so that the new knowledge is quickly put into practice. “With the Smart Beet Initiative, we are testing new approaches to sugar beet cultivation. They help us and the growers to comply with EU legislation, make sugar beet production more sustainable and optimise operational processes in agriculture. In the coming years, it will be more important than ever to put what we have learnt into practice particularly quickly and consistently together with growers,” says Björn Kiepe about the Nordzucker Smart Beet Initiative.

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