The sugar beet is a biennial herbaceous plant when the organ of use is its root. As it is a biannual plant, it is intended to harvest in the first year, to prevent it from entering vernalization and flowering at the beginning of the second year. Sugar beet is grown for its high sugar content (over 15%), which is extracted by Industrial processes. Sugar beets form a taproot, fleshy and thickened at the top. Its shape is conical and can have several folds.
Sugar beet produces about 2.87 tons per year, in a total area of 35,000 hectares. In Spain the most cultivated varieties are Estepa, Soraanda, Lugano, Pepite, Ave and Millenium. Other cultivars that are resistant to heading and are grown in autumn are Tarifa, Dandna, Oslo and Ducado, among others.
Beet grows optimally in soils with a sandy-loam texture. In very clay soils, excess moisture can cause problems. In soils that are too loose, if correct fertility is maintained, the root can grow without problems. An optimum pH of 7-7.5 is recommended, although beets can grow at pH's ranging from 6.5 to 8. It slightly tolerates salinity without experiencing significant losses in production.
Beet grows well in soils with minimum temperatures of 6-8ºC. At first when it germinates it is sensitive to frost, but once the crop is established it acquires resistance to cold temperatures
In relation to its irrigation needs, a correct irrigation must be ensured, especially during the beginning of the crop cycle. Once the plant is established, it can tolerate a less intense watering. An approximate consumption of 500-700mm of water per year is recommended. For maximum performance, a certain humidity must be maintained in the soil. This is achieved by watering every 5-8 days maximum, especially in the summer.
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