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GROWING SUGAR BEET IN INDIA

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Ashok Dalawai president of the committee of Prime Minister Modi’s dream project of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 speaking at a national level workshop on sugar beet at S. Nijalingappa Sugar Institute Belagavi explained the importance of Sugar beet and how the farmers can make good money. He is also the CEO of the National Rainfed Area Development Authority.

SUGAR BEET is a significant crop within arable rotations in the major growing regions. It has a conical, white, fleshy root (a taproot) with a flat crown; and a rosette of leaves. Sugar is formed by photosynthesis in the leaves and then stored in the root. This comprises approximately 75% water, 20% sugar, and 5% pulp (extractable sugar content can vary between 12 and 21%, depending on the cultivar and growing conditions). Sugar is the primary value of this crop; whilst the pulp, which is insoluble in water and predominantly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and pectin is used successfully in animal feed. The by-products of the sugar beet crop, such as pulp and molasses, add another 10% to the value of the harvest. The leaves can be grazed by sheep.
Sugar beet is commonly grown in conjunction with wheat, barley or pulses, providing a valuable break crop helping to prevent a buildup of disease.

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SUGAR BEET PRODUCES SUGAR QUICKLY

25% of the total sugar world production is from sugar beet cultivation, the average sugar recovery is about 15-16%. Sugar beet and sugar cane are complimentary being able to be co-processed or extend the processing period by 90 days. Critically sugar beet has a shorter growing period than cane from planting to maturity in six months compared to two years for the cane.

sugar-beetSUGAR BEET ACTS AS The BEST FEEDSTOCK FOR ETHANOL

Sugar beets have high dry matter and sugar content, meaning they are the best feedstock for ethanol production. Faster fermentation and higher output than other feed-stocks. Sugar beet also delivers energy solutions in a sustainable way, with a far lower water use requirement than cane and saline tolerance, enabling unproductive land to be cropped.

Soil Preparation & sowing

Sugar beet can be grown on a wide range of soils. But a deep soil (> 1 m) is better adapted to its long taproot. The crop grows well between pH 4 and 9 and tolerates saline soils better than Sugar cane Soil preparation is similar to other crops. But extra care should be taken to have a thin seedbed: harrowing is needed after plowing in order to break the clods. The ideal sowing depth is 2.5cm (maximum 3 cm) Optimum plant population is +100.000 plants/ha (42.000 plants/a). This requires an initial sowing density of +1.2 unit/ha In India sugar beet can be sown by hand or mechanically, one seed per hole, either on a flatbed (50 cm between rows and 20 cm between plants or with ridges (on a single side of the ridge: 75 cm x 13 cm; on both sides: 75 cm x 26 cm). Ridges are very practical for irrigation Tropical sugar beet is monogerm: a single plant Comes out of each seed and therefore thinning is not needed. The ideal sowing period in Maharashtra and Karnataka states in October or November, but it can be extended until January.

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