Sugar Beet Plant Pathology

Sugar Beet Plant Pathology Research TeamThe goal of the sugar beet plant pathology research and extension programs is to develop effective disease management strategies while still maintaining profitability. We conduct applied research on developing disease management approaches (cultural, chemical, and biological) and basic research to further our understanding of biology and genetic diversity of sugar beet pathogens. We focus on finding cost efficient management techniques that minimize the negative impacts of diseases on both yield and quality of sugar beets to help growers remain competitive in the sugar beet production.

We collaborate directly with other sugar beet researchers in Minnesota and other sugar beet growing regions and sugar beet cooperatives to conduct research trials. By working closely with the sugar beet industry, we can better anticipate production challenges and identify the best practices to manage disease threats. The information generated from research is conveyed to the growers and industry via various channels such as winter grower meetings, field days, web and other channels.  

Current research primarily focuses on Rhizoctonia crown and root rot, Aphanomyces root rot and Cercospora leaf spot. Growers can submit their samples for disease diagnosis in our sugar beet plant pathology lab for proper identification.

Current research projects in our lab:

  • Integrated management of Rhizoctonia solani in sugar beet

  • Development of a real-time PCR assay for detection and quantification of Rhizoctonia solani in soil

  • Inoculum density and variety susceptibility effects on onset of Rhizoctonia crown and root rot

  • Evaluation of at-planting fungicide treatments for control of Rhizoctonia solani

  • Rhizoctonia disease progress across the sugar beet growing area of Minnesota and North Dakota

  • Effect of additional spent lime added to previously limed fields on soil pH, calcium concentration, Aphanomyces root rot, and sugar beet yield and quality

  • Understanding how spent lime affects Aphanomyces cochlioides

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