Introduction to Beetroot Farming – Package of Practices:
Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) belongs to the family Chenopodiaceae. Beetroot Farming Package of Practices plays a major role in increasing yield and profits in beetroot farming. It is a popular root crop grown for its fleshy and healthy roots which are used as a cooked vegetable, salad and pickling, and canning industries. Young plants along with tender leaves and branches are also used as potherbs. Beetroot is a rich source of protein (1.7 g/100 g/100 g), carbohydrates (88 mg), calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Leaves are rich in iron (3.1 mg), vitamin A (2100 I.U.), thiamine (110 μ g) and ascorbic acid (50 mg/ 100 g) respectively.
Origin of Beetroot: Beetroot originated from Beta vulgaris L. ssp. maritima by hybridization with B. patula species.
In this post, we will let you know about Beetroot Farming Package of Practices, Beetroot Farming tips, Beetroot farming business plan, Beetroot cultivation tips, Beetroot farming guide, Beetroot seed varieties list, Beetroot seed rate, production technology of beetroot.
Economic importance of Beetroot:
Beetroots have many health benefits, mainly for heart health. Beetroots are a rich source of many essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Climatic requirements for Beetroot Farming Package of Practices:
Beetroot is sensitive to low temperatures and prefers a slightly cool climate. Though it grows in a warm region, the development of colour, texture, sugar content, etc. of roots is the best when compared to cool weather. High temperature leads to zoning i.e., the appearance of alternate light and dark red concentric rings in the root region. Extreme low temperatures of 4.0-10.0 degrees Celsius for two weeks will result in bolting. It requires adequate sunshine for the development of storage roots.
Soil conditions for Beetroot cultivation: Deep well-drained loamy soils or sandy loams are the best for beetroot production. Heavy clayey soils result in low germination and stand of crop due to the formation of a soil crust after rains. Roots may be misshaped and will not develop in heavy soils. Beetroot is susceptible to soil acidity and the ideal pH is six to seven. Beetroot can be successfully grown in saline soils.
Land preparation and sowing: Being a temperate crop, beetroot is raised during winter in plains and as a summer crop in hills by March-April. In plains, sowing is done during September-November. The land is prepared to a fine tilth by thorough ploughing making it friable. Clods are removed completely. Application of well-decomposed farmyard manure at the time of the last ploughing.
Flatbeds or ridges and furrows are prepared well. Water-soaked ‘seed balls’ which contain 2-5 seeds are drilled 2.0 cm deep in rows with a spacing of 45-60×10 cm.
Seed rate for Beetroot sowing:
Five to six kg of seeds are required for sowing one hectare. Staggered sowing at one to two weeks interval ensures proper supply of roots during the season.
Beetroot varieties list:
- Detroit Dark Red,
- Crimson Globe,
- Crosby Egyptian, and
- Early Wonder are the important varieties grown in India.
Fertilizer application/Fertilizer dosage in Beetroot farming:
On sandy soils, organic manure like FYM @ 25 t/ha is recommended. For an average fertile soil, 60-70 kg N, 100-120 kg P and 60-70 kg/ha are recommended. Full farmyard manure or compost, half of N and full P and K is applied as basal dose at the time of land preparation before sowing and remaining at 30-45 days after sowing. Beetroots have a high boron requirement and its deficiency causes internal breakdown damage as black rot.
Irrigation requirements for Beetroot farming:
Beetroot needs irrigation at seven days interval during vegetative growth and 10-15 days at maturation. Excessive irrigation results in the sprouting of Beetroot. Generally, five to six irrigations are given during summer months and three irrigations during winter in North Indian plains.
Intercultural operations in beetroot farming:
Thinning is an important operation where more than one seedling germinates from each seed. Moist soil is essential for seed germination and further establishment.
Weed control/ Weed management in Beetroot farming:
The field is generally kept weed-free by light hand hoeing at the early stage of the crop. Swollen roots are covered with soil by earthing up operations.
Plant protection/Insect pest and disease management in Beetroot Farming Package of Practices:
Insect pests of Beetroot, their symptoms, and different management practices:
Beet leaf miner (Pegomya hyoscyami)
Symptoms: Beet leaf miner larvae make a tunnel inside leaves creating irregular blotch-shaped mines. The affected areas are pale green initially but mined parts of the leaf soon turn brown.
Chemical management: Spraying of methyl demeton 25 EC 1.0 L 500 – 750 L of water per ha is advisable.
Non-chemical management/ Natural control/ Organic control: Grow susceptible plants under barrier netting prevents female flies from laying eggs on the foliage. Crop rotation also practised.
Diseases of Beetroot, their symptoms, and different management practices:
Leaf spot of Beetroot (Cercospora beticola)
Symptoms: Several minute circular spots appear on the leaf surface. The increase in size and shape becoming brownish colour. Many individual spots are circular but several coalesce into larger areas of dead tissue. The spots dry up leading to a shot-hole appearance on the leaves. As leaves die, the crown shows cone-shaped with a rosette of dead leaves at the base.
Chemical management: Spray Copper oxychloride (0.3 %) three times at an interval of two weeks controls the disease effectively.
Non-chemical management/Natural control/ Organic control: Removal and destruction of affected crop and crop rotation are advisable in controlling the disease.
Downy Mildew of Beetroot (Peronospora schachtti)
Symptoms: Symptoms appear as irregular greyish areas on the affected leaves. During moist conditions, these areas expand rapidly and a white powdery growth appears on the lower part of the affected leaves. Flowers on infected plants become stunted and distorted. The entire inflorescence may give an appearance of witches broom.
Chemical management: Three sprays with Mancozeb 0.2 % is always effective. Spraying starts at 20 days after transplanting and repeats at 10-12 days interval.
Non-chemical management/ Natural control/ Organic control: Plant resistant beetroot cultivars. Crop rotation is also recommended.
Curly top virus of Beetroot:
Symptoms: This viral disease is transmitted by beetroot leafhoppers. Symptoms of curly top virus infection appear in leaves, stems, flowers, fruits of infected plants. Leaves get thickened and leathery. The curly top virus leads to a loss in both yield and quality of the root of an infected plant
Chemical management: Spray malathion (2ml/litre of water) controls the beet leafhoppers.
Non-chemical management/Natural control/Organic control: Regulating the planting time to avoid the main flights of the beet leafhopper. Use of barrier crops like trap crops and the removal and destruction of infected plants.
Maturity indices/ Harvesting indices of Beetroot:
It gets ready for harvesting at ten to twelve weeks. Beet tops will show excellent tender green colour at the time of harvest.
Harvesting and yield of Beetroot:
Beetroot is ready for picking at 90 days after sowing. Removal of beet tops by twisting them off with the hands to prevent the plants from bleeding their juice. Yields are about 20-25 t/ha.
Conclusion: Beetroot cultivation is a boon to farmers with high yield and income.