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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Soil and Water Conservation for Northwestern Irrigated Agriculture

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Title: Irrigated sugarbeet sucrose content in relation to growing season climatic conditions in the northwest U.S.

Author
item King, Bradley - Brad
item Tarkalson, David

Submitted to: Journal of Sugar Beet Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/13/2017
Publication Date: 7/20/2017
Citation: King, B.A., Tarkalson, D.D. 2017. Irrigated sugarbeet sucrose content in relation to growing season climatic conditions in the northwest U.S. Journal of Sugar Beet Research. 54(1&2):60-74.

Interpretive Summary: The potential effects of changing climate on world food production have become a political and scientific focus and a concern to commodity groups seeking long term sustainability. Irrigated sugarbeet production in northwest U.S. accounts for 16% of total U.S. production and represents a significant economic contribution to some local agricultural communities. This study was conducted to investigate linkages between seasonal climatic conditions and sugarbeet sucrose content in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon to gain insight into the effect climate change may have on sugar production in the region. Sucrose content of irrigated sugarbeets delivered to 74 receiving stations in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon from 1997 through 2014, and daily climate data (growing degree days and accumulated alfalfa reference crop evapotranspiration, maximum air temperature, minimum air temperature and mean air temperature, global solar radiation, accumulated growing degree days, and mean relative humidity) from regional weather stations were collected and analyzed using various regression techniques to investigate linkages between climate variables and sugarbeet sucrose content. The most important climatic parameter related to mean sucrose content was early stage sugarbeet growth (late April to mid-May). In general, as temperature and GDD increased sucrose content decreased. Results indicate increases in both early season and mid-season temperatures will likely lead to decreases in sugarbeet sucrose concentrations. However, if sugarbeet root yields increase due to increasing temperatures and GDD accumulation, the sucrose yield changes would be buffered.

Technical Abstract: The potential effects of changing climate on world food production have become a political and scientific focus. This study was conducted to investigate linkages between seasonal climatic conditions and sugarbeet sucrose content in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. Sucrose content of irrigated sugarbeets delivered to 74 receiving stations in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon from 1997 through 2014, and daily climate data (growing degree days [GDD] and accumulated alfalfa reference crop evapotranspiration, maximum air temperature, minimum air temperature and mean air temperature, global solar radiation, accumulated growing degree days, and mean relative humidity) from regional weather stations were collected and analyzed using various regression techniques to investigate linkages between climate variables and sugarbeet sucrose content. Ninety-nine climatic parameters were analyzed with 34 having correlations with sugarbeet sucrose content > |0.3|. The most important climatic parameter related to mean sucrose content was early stage sugarbeet growth (late April to mid-May). In general, as temperature and GDD increased sucrose content decreased. Results indicate increases in both early season and mid-season temperatures will lead to decreases in sugarbeet sucrose concentrations. However, if sugarbeet root yields increase due to increasing temperatures and GDD accumulation, the sucrose yield changes would be buffered.

Last Modified: 09/23/2017
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