Sugar beet

Your crop is unique, why not expect the same from your fertiliser? Bunn formulates sugar beet fertilisers to respond to different cropping conditions. Each contains the optimum combination of raw materials to satisfy nutrient requirements, taking into account soil texture, previous cropping, manure applications, and cereal rotation plans.


Nutrition check list

Good crop nutrition will help to achieve maximum crop productivity for maximum profits with minimal impact on the environment while adhering to all legislation. Some basic principles should be followed to achieve these goals:

  1. Identify the soil type in order to understand nutrient requirements.

  2. Analyse soil for nutrient content every 3-5 years and adapt nutrient inputs to maintain values of:

    pH 6.5 (5.8 peat soils)
    P Index 2
    K Index 2-
    Mg Index 2
  3. Determine the Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) either by field assessment method or by sampling and analysis for soil mineral nitrogen.

  4. Determine nutrient supply from organic sources and deduct available nutrient sources from total crop requirement.

  5. Apply Phosphorus and Potassium to maintain nutrients from crop removal and apply additional quantities if soil indices are low.

  6. Apply nutrients at the correct timing to match plant demand.

  7. Check that the fertiliser spreader or sprayer is calibrated to deliver nutrient accurately.

  8. Record all fertilisers and organic materials used.


N Max limits

For crops grown in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) there are rules limiting the amount of nitrogen that can be applied. These limits are not necessarily the optimum for agronomic performance but are the maximum allowable in these areas.
In NVZ zones, the average nitrogen application rate (from manufactured fertiliser and crop-available nitrogen from any organic manure) must not exceed the N Max limit. It is also good practice to follow these guidelines for land outside of NVZ zones. The N Max limit applies to the average across the farm.
For full details of N Max limits please refer to the DEFRA document; Guidance on complying with the rules for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in England for 2013 to 2016.
The table below highlights the N max limits.
Crop Expected yield N max limits
Sugar Beet n/a 120


The main role of nitrogen in sugar beet crops is to encourage leaf and canopy development as early as possible in order to maximise solar radiation capture. 30-40kg N/Ha should be applied immediately after drilling and the remainder when all seedlings have emerged. Delaying the 2nd application beyond the cotyledon stage increases risk of fertiliser granules lodging in plants and scorching the plants.

SNS Index Total N Requirement Applied Immediately after drilling Applied at full emergence
0-1 120 30-40 80-90
2 100 30-40 60-70
3 80 30-40 40-50
4 0 0 0
5 0 0 0

N recommendations for all mineral soil (not organic or peaty soils).

In order to utilise Nitrogen and the benefits it gives with regards to canopy development it is important to chose your nitrogen source correctly. The use of Koch Advanced Nitrogen® fertiliser stabilises nitrogen to ensure the maximum potential is available  for canopy development.


Crop nutrient removal

Significant nutrients are removed from the field during crop removal. The levels of these nutrients that are removed from the system will vary significantly depending on yield. In order to maintain soil nutrient levels the nutrients that are removed with the crop need to be replaced by either fertiliser applications and/or organic  additions.

The table below indicates the level of nutrients required to maintain soil indices at target Index 2 across a range of yield levels:

Crop Crop management Yield (t/ha) Nutrient requirement (kg/ha)
P2O5 K2O MgO
Sugar Beet Roots only removed (with tops ploughed in) 60.0 50 100 30
70.0 58 117 35
80.0 66 134 40
90.0 74 151 45
100.0 82 168 50

* Magnesium data from Potash Development Association 'Nutrients in Crop Material' booklet

Sodium: For soils at K Index 0 and 1 an application of 200kg Na2O/Ha is recommended. On K Index 2 it is only necessary to apply 100kg NaO2/Ha when soils contain less than 25mg/kg.

Boron: When soil analysis shows less than 0.8mg B/kg, an application of up to 3kg/Ha Boron (as soluble) may be required.