Sugar beet uses water for growth and cooling purposes. The water requirement or evapotranspiration (ET) for sugar beet depends on variety, growth stage, canopy density, climatic conditions, and irrigation and crop management.

Sugar beet grown under optimal conditions (well-fertilized, well-irrigated, well-drained soils, pest-free stand, and uniform and optimum canopy) requires about 500 mm of water per growing season, but may change depending of the growing area.

Typically, sugar beet roots grow to an effective water extraction depth of 100 cm. Root distribution is concentrated near the soil surface; hence, a beet plant obtains 70 per cent of its seasonal water from the upper 50 cm of the active root zone. The active root zone changes from a few millimetres at emergence to a maximum depth of 100 cm at the full canopy closure and root enlargement growth stages.

Average sugar beet water use ranges from about 0.1 mm per day when the crop emerges to nearly 8 mm per day when the crop canopy completely shades the ground and the tap root is enlarging. Sugar beet water demand decreases as the old leaves start to die and temperatures start to cool down in the fall.

Sugar beets

Sugar cane

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