Beat root

Beetroot : Beta valgaris

Introduction

At present a total of approximately 1700 ha are reported to have under beet cultivation and per capita consumption is estimated to be around 0.7 kg/year. It is rich in several vitamins, does not contain significant amount of any nutritional factors. Hence this is an ideal vegetable for health conscious people.


Nutririve value (100g)

 

Beet

Beet greens

Calories (g)

55

25

Protein (g)

2

3

Fat (mg)

T    

T

Carbohydrates (mg)

12

5

Ca (mg)

24

144

Iron

0.9 (170 g)

2.8 (145 g)

Vitamin A (IU)

30

7400

Thiamin (mg)

0.05

0.10

Riboflavin (mg)

0.07

0.22

Niacin (mg)

0.5

0.4

Vitamin C (mg)

10

22

T - Trace Source: Vegetable growing handbook avi. Publishing company 1982.

Recommended varieties
1. Crimson Globe
a). Most popular variety among the farmers.
b). Maturation time 75 -90 days.
c). Root shape - Globular; Colour - exterior reddish purple, interior deep
reddish - purple.
2. Detroit Dark Red
a). Maturation time 75 -90 days.
b). Root shape - Globular; Colour - exterior reddish purple, interior deep    
reddish - purple.

Field establishment
Climatic Requirement

Beet can be grown in all agro-ecological regions in the country. However could be successfully cultivated in Sri Lanka, in Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Kandy and Matale districts. Nuwara Eliya district has the largest extent of cultivation and peak production could be expected from other districts and Nuwara Eliya throughout the year. Under irrigated condition Beetroot could be cultivated in areas like Kegalle, Kurunegala, Moneragala, Anuradhapura, Ratnapura, Matale,

Hambantota and Jaffna in the country.


Soils
Well drained soils are suitable. Ill -drained soil can cause growth problems. A pH range between 6.3 and 7.5 is most appropriate for cultivation.

Land Preparation

  1. Nursery
    a). Soil should be worked to a fine tilth.
    b). Prepare raised beds one meter wide and about 20 cm high.
  2. Field
    a). Soil should be ploughed to a depth of 20-30 cm and worked to a very fine tilth.
    b). Apply 10 -20 t/ha of organic matter.


Planting And Spacing

  1. Nursery
    a). Seed can be broadcast or row - sown
  2. Field

a). Up -country : Transplant healthy 3-4 week old seedling on raised beds.
b). Low lands: Transplant seedlings on ridges or raised beds.
c). Spacing: 30 cm between rows; 10 cm within the row
d). Seeds can also be dibbed in rows and thinned to a spacing of 10 cm at the 2-3 leaf stage.

Seed Requirement

Being an up country vegetable, farmers have to depend on imported seeds. Hence several private seed importers supply the entire seed requirement which is about 10-11 mt/year. With the targeted production extent of 4953 ha in 2001, the seed requirement will be increased to 29.7 Mt. Major portion of this seed would be of Crimson Globe, since this is the most popular variety among farmers both in wet and dry zone.

 

Crop management
Fertilizer Requirment

N-180 kg / ha, P2O2 - 90 kg /ha, K2O - 120 kg / ha
a). Basal - apply the following formulations and rates
i). Urea - 165 kg / ha
ii) Triple Super Phosphate - 270 kg / ha
iii). Muriate Of Potash - 125 kg / ha
b). Top dressing - 4 - 6 weeks after planting
i). Urea - 165 kg / ha
ii). Muriate of potash - 125 kg / ha

Irrigation

Irrigate at 3 -4 day intervals depending on soil type.

Weed control
Hand weed 2 weeks after planting and again just before applying top dressing of fertilization.

Disease control
i). Cercospora leaf spot (Cercospora sp.)
a). Symptoms
Small, grey -coloured spots on leaves, especially on lower leaves
b). Control - Use a recommended fungicides
ii). Scab ( Streptomyces scabies)
a). Symptoms
Lesions with corky spots on the surface of fleshy roots. But unlike those of common scab on potato tubers.

Pest Control
Vegetable leaf miner - Liriomyza huidobrensis (Diptera: Agromyzidae)


Damage

On foliage, larvae make on lower leaf surfaces and usually are associated with the midrib and lateral veins. A mine usually begins on the upper leaf surface and moves to the lower surface after a few millimeters of feeding by the larva. Adults punching leaves for both feeding and oviposition. Punctures and mines may be numerous enough to greatly reduce photosynthesis and may kill young plants. These mines and punctures further reduced the value of ornamental plants.

 

Regulatory Action

Inspection of the fields before and after cultivation of the crop is needed for the proper management of the Liriomyza huidobrensis. Knowledge on cropping pattern and distribution pattern of the leaf miner in the region is important to achieve successful management of this pest.

 

Inspection of crop

  1. Yellow traps - Yellow colour boards with sticky substances can be placed in the field. If adult flies present, they trap into these boards. This will enable to farmer to get an idea on population of the flies.
  2. Inspection of the punch markers on the foliage.


Chemical control

  1. Neem seed kernel water extract can be applied at the rate of 2 g / l in 3 - 4 day intervals. This method need to practice from at the beginning of the seedling emergence.
  2. Neemazal - F: 1 - 2 ml per one liter of water, apply on seven days interval
Two kinds of translaminar insecticides cyromazin and abamactine are recommended for
  1. the control of leaf miner larvae on foliage.

Biological control

Diglypus isaea, a hymenopteran parasitoid was introduced in 1998. At present this it is well established in the region. Later, two local hymenopteran parasitoids, Hemiptarsenoideus semiabiclavus and Opius spp. were identified. However introduced parasitoid is showing more than 80% of the parasitism compared to two other parasitoids in the region.


Other Methods

  1. Use of sweep net method
  2. Crop residues should be burn or buried in the soil
  3. Removal of alternate host plants surround the crop field


Economics & marketing
Major Production Months
This product comes to market in bulk during March, April, May and August to December.

District wise estimated extents and production for Maha 2000/2001, Yala 2001 and Maha 2001/2002.

District

Extent ha

Production mt

 

Maha 2000/2001

Yala 2000         

Maha 2001/2002

Maha 2000/2001

Yala 2001     

Maha 2001/2002

Hambantota

318.2

3.6

4.4

49.66

47.5

58.1

Badulla

216.3

245.5

294.5

2811.9

3240.6

3887.4

Moneragala

92.7

86.8

104.2

1205.1

1145.8

1375.4

Rathnapura

88.4

83.2

99.8

1149.2

1098.2

1317.4

Kurunegala

290.0

27.2

326

3770

3590.4

4302.2

Puttalam

12.0

11.4

13.6

156

150.48

179.5

Kandy

201.0

189.0

227

2613

2494.8

2996.4

Matale

145.0

136.0

163

1885

1795.2

2151.6

Nuwara Eliya

1069

1005

1206

13897

13266

15919.2

Anuradhapura

60.5

56.8

68.2

786.5

749.6

900.2

Polonnaruwa

8.2

7.7

9.3

106.6

101.6

122.8

Jaffna

24

27.7

27.3

312

264

360.4

Kilinochchi

8.2

7.7

9.3

106.6

101.6

122.8

Matara

8.2

7.7

9.3

106.6

101.6

122.8

Vavuniya

26

34.1

40.9

338

450.1

539.9


Trincomale

15.8

15

18

205.4

198

237.6

Udawalawe

8.2

7.7

5.3

106.6

101.6

122.8

System H

40.4

37.7

45.3

525.2

497.6

597.0

System B

8.2

7.7

9.3

106.6

101.64

122.8

System C

15.8

15.0

18

205.4

198

23

Source: DOA Vegetable task force report.

Cost of Production

Major portion of the cost of production accounts for fertilizer (38%) and labour (39%). The other important factor that contributes to high cost of production is pesticides (9%). The cost of fertilizer could be cut down; if farmers are made realized the benefit of use of straight fertilizer. This would cut down the fertilizer cost by 40-50%. Labour could be saved if mixed cropping with leeks or carrot is adopted. Cost of pesticide could also be cut down if need based spraying for pests and diseases is adopted.