Two trials were located in Otago, one for grazing-type fodder beets and the other for lifting-type beets.
a) Otago Grazing Beet Trial
The Otago grazing trial was located on a farm in the Lindis River Valley, north of Tarras, and drilled on 23 November 2015. Seed was drilled at 90,000 seeds/ha with 50 cm row spacings. Whilst the crop was irrigated, it suffered from moisture stress in late summer to autumn because irrigation water was not available and the weather was dry and hot.
Yield and plant numbers were measured on 10 May 2016. There were significant differences in yield between some cultivars of fodder beet (Fig. 1). The mean yield in the trial was 14.7 t DM/ha, a reflection of the moisture stress and lower plant numbers. Bulb dry matter content was 4.6% points higher than the average of all DLF trials conducted to date, due to moisture stress leading up to trial harvest.
Figure 1. Mean yield at the Otago grazing beet trial 2016
b) Lifting Beet Trial
This trial compared cultivars that are recommended for lifting. It was located on a farm just south of Tapanui, and drilled on 23 November 2015. Seed was drilled at 90,000 seeds/ha with 50 cm row spacings.
Yield and plant numbers were measured on 12 July 2016. There were significant differences in yield between some cultivars of fodder beet (Fig. 2). The mean total crop yield was 23.7 t DM/ha (17.7 t bulb and 6 leaf). Bulb dry matter content averaged 23.4% for the three sugar beet cultivars, and 21.3% for the fodder beets, slightly higher than the long-term mean of trials.
Figure 2. Mean total yield at the Otago beet trial 2016