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Nordzucker Post 2/2024 - 23 May 2024

Sugar beet 2024: Major regional differences in sowing dates

It was cool and wet: the weather had a significant impact on sugar beet sowing this year. In some regions, beet was drilled up to ten days later than usual. A north-south divide became clear: beet growers in Denmark and Sweden were able to start sowing later than their colleagues in Poland, Lithuania, and Slovakia due to the weather.

At the beginning of May, only around 50 per cent of the acreage in the Nordic countries had been sown. In Denmark in particular, there has not been such late sowing for three decades, which has dragged on into May.

In the other regions, the sowing period was normal to average. Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia were early; March and April were drier there compared to the previous year, so that beet growers were able to drill earlier and finish sowing as early as mid-April. In Germany, sowing was largely completed by the beginning of May, with beet drilled on 70 to 100 per cent of the areas, depending on the location. However, heavy rain and wet soils caused delays in sowing of up to ten days in some regions.

The conditions for the development of the plants vary accordingly. In the Nordic countries, no emergence has yet been recorded due to the late drilling. In Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia, the comparatively early drilling and subsequent weather conditions have resulted in good conditions for emergence. In Germany, emergence is also at a good level, with stocks totaling 90,000 to 95,000 plants per hectare. Björn Kiepe, Head of Agri Consulting & Shared Agri Services, comments on the state of the sugar beet: ‘Despite the different conditions in the countries and regions, good plant populations are emerging. The consequences of the sometimes very different sowing dates from March to May will certainly accompany us in our cultivation consulting throughout the year. It is important to carry out the necessary measures at the right time. The foundations have now been laid for a successful beet growing year in all countries.’

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