Fodder and Sugar Beet Nutrient Considerations

Beet is one of the most cheapest energy sources per tonne dry matter that can be grown on Irish farms. Beet is highly digestible, palatable, and is an excellent source of sugar energy.

Like any crop, fodder and sugar beet crops require heat, light, water and air in adequate amounts. For essential plant nutrition, they also need the 6 macro-nutrients including Calcium (Ca), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg) and Sulphur (S).

Calcium is the single most important nutrient a crops needs. Beet requires large amounts and liming with Calcium lime is necessary for high yield crops. If it is not possible to spread ground limestone then a granular product needs to be applied to ensure optimum pH of 6.5+.

Potassium (K) is crucial for photosynthesis, therefore CO2 assimilation is much higher in leaves with a good potassium supply than in leaves with a poor potassium supply. Potassium is essential for sugar production in the leaves and therefore sugar storage in the beet. Potassium also ensures efficient nitrogen use. Sodium (Na) fodder beet is descended by cultivation from the Sea Beet and thrives on salt. Sodium compliments Potash use as its gives a similar response.

Magnesium is of great importance for the nutrition of beet. Apart from photosynthesis, Mg is required for the translocation and accumulation of sugar in the root. Mg uptake is linked to the plant development during the vegetation period. This is characterised by slow juvenile growth in the spring and intensive dry matter accumulation during the summer. The later stages last until the autumn, when the peak in Mg uptake is reached. If extra magnesium is required then foliar or granular applications are required. Kieserite (MgSul) provides 20%S and 15% Mg is granular readily available form.

Significant amounts of potassium and magnesium are taken from the soil with each harvest. They have to be replenished with adequate fertilisation. Korn-Kali contains both nutrients in a ratio favourable for the plant.

Korn – Kali meets the specific nutrient requirements of agricultural crops for potassium, magnesium, sulphur and sodium. Fodder and sugar beet is particularly sensitive to potassium deficiency with losses in yield and quality. Korn Kali promotes the favourable sugar content and the sugar yield even if the soil is adequately supplied with nutrients. Due to reduced atmospheric deposition and the use of low-sulphur fertilisers, symptoms of sulphur deficiency can be easily observed. The regular use of Korn-Kali forms the basis for the sufficient sulphur nutrition of the plant.


  • Is an essential nutrient for the yield and quality formation of the plants.
  • It is involved in the efficiency of the photosynthesis as the central atom in the chlorophyll.
  • Deficiency often occurs during intensive growth period of the crops as well as during periods of cold, drought or in soils insufficient magnesium availability.


  • Is a vital nutrient for protein synthesis therefore increasing nitrogen efficiency?
  • Is absorbed as sulphate via the root and the leaf.
  • Ideally crops need to be top dressed with ASN 26N 15S.


  • Is important for cell wall formation, water balance as well as the production of energy rich assimilates such as sugar and starch.
  • Deficiency symptoms can occur in June-July causing the death of the growing point. Known as heart rot. This can then spread to the crown and shoulders. The addition of a foliar to compliment the soil applied Boron is considered good practice when there is enough leaf area to absorb the nutrient.

Target Fertilisers unique beet compound 8-5-18+3.5S+0.33B+2.3Mg+3.6Na is formulated using Korn-Kali and Magnesia Kainit to provide adequate amounts of N,P,K,S, Mg, B and Na for high yielding crops. The addition of granular Boron to the mix provides for the high requirement of this for beet crops. This provides 1650 grams of elemental Boron/Ha.