[Crops 101] How to Sow & Harvest Sugar Beet

November 18, 2021

Welcome to your next ‘Crops 101’ lesson of the Farming Simulator Academy! We’re focusing on sugar beet. We’ll show you how to plant, harvest and sell this root crop. 

(Video coming soon!)

What you need for sugar beet

Let’s take a look at everything you need to plant and harvest sugar beet. Please note, you need special equipment. It’s not the cheapest and therefore sugar beet are not the best choice of crops to start with at the beginning. 

  • You need a plow or subsoiler. You need to cultivate before sowing, and, because of the roots, plow the field after every third harvest. Instead of using a cultivator and a plow as separate machines, you can alternatively use a subsoiler every time - it is easier and faster to use than a plough!
  • You need a planter and seeds. In the "Planter" category in the tool tab of the shop, you find suitable planters. You also need to buy a Bigbag Pallet of seeds containing all the different crop types - you just have to select the sugar beet seed when the planter is filled.
    • Tip! Look for the beet icon that indicates compatible planters!
  • You need a fertilizer spreader, fertilizer (and lime). Without, the income from your harvested crops will be lower. For beginners, artificial fertilizers are the best choice. You find both lime and fertilizer in the "Bigbag Pallet" section of the shop. A fertilizer spreader is found in the "Fertilizing technology" category. If your field requires lime, it will be shown in the right corner box if you’re standing on the field or on the map in the menu.
  • You need a weeder to get rid of the weeds that will soon pop up. Otherwise, the income from your crops will be reduced when you sell it.
  • You need harvesting equipment. Either a combine harvester specialized on beets OR a haulm topper plus beet harvester. 
  • You also need a trailer to transport and sell the harvested crops.

Equipment Selection (recommendation) 

We chose the following equipment, but you can make your own decisions. We use both a haulm topper and a beet harvester as separate tools. If your tractor is powerful enough, you can attach both in the front and rear of the tractor simultaneously.

Otherwise, you'll have to do both steps separately. Or, go with a combine harvester if you can afford it! Please mind, the harvesting tool alone might already require a bit more horsepower (around 185 hp) than your starting tractor.

The Agromasz Falcon3 planter can also fertilize. You don't need a separate fertilizing machine. Except, if the field requires lime and you want to get the yield bonus for liming. 

  • Tractor: CLAAS Axion 800
  • Subsoiler: Kuhn DC 401
  • Planter: Agromasz Falcon3
  • Haulm Topper: Grimme FT 300
  • Harvester: Grimme Rootster 604
  • Weeder: Einböck Aerostar-Exact 600
  • (Fertilizer: BREDAL K105) - optional, only for lime!
  • Trailer: WELGER DK 115

Let’s go to work!

Got everything you need? Then let’s start on your assignment and plant some crops. Note, that you can only plant sugar beets between the beginning of March and the end of April if seasonal growth is enabled. 

Step 1: Plowing the field

You need to plow after every harvest when it comes to root crops like potatoes and sugar beet to gain the full yield. The roots go deep, so you have to get rid of them by plowing. But, we use a subsoiler instead of a plow, because it has a higher working speed. It's much faster.

More about plowing

Step 2: Apply lime if necessary

Does the field tell you it also needs lime? Then head to the shop, buy lime and apply it to the field with a fertilizer spreader that can handle lime.  If you have fertilizer left in the spreader, you can unload it first at your farm. Liming will increase the yield. You can skip it, but will earn a bit less money when selling the harvest.

Step 3: Planting and fertilizing

The planter we chose can plant sugar beet and fertilize at the same time. Click on the Bigbag category and buy the Seeds Bigbag and the Solid Fertilizer Bigbag. Position the planter right next to the Bigbags and click the button to refill.

Over at the field, you select sugar beet seeds, turn the machine on, lower it and cover the whole field. It should now be fertilized up to 50%, look at the right corner box while standing on the field. It’s okay if there are some tiny spots still not covered.

Tip! Feel free to speed up the game speed until weeds start to grow.

Optional: After you're done with planting, you can also use a soil roller to condense the soil and increase the yield by additional 2,5%. You don't have to, though. If small stones are left on the field, they get pushed back into the soil, so they don't damage your harvester, later. Big stones have to be picked up by a stone collector, though.

More about seeding & planting

More about soil rollers

More about field stones

Step 4: Getting rid of weeds

Soon, the first weeds spawn on the field. If the field tells you, the weeds are growing and can be picked with a weeder, you can already take care of them - even if they're not visible yet. Take your weeder to get rid of it before the crops grow too high. After that, you’d need a field sprayer, but let’s try to avoid that in favor of our finances. If you play with crop destruction, use a tractor with narrow tires, otherwise a lot of plants get destroyed. Got rid of it? Good.

More about weeding

Tip! If you're playing with crop destruction enabled, and the crops already started to sprout, you should use narrow tires from now on. Otherwise, a lot of your crop will be destroyed.

Step 5: Fertilize the second time

You can fertilize again, to increase the yield. You can't do that with the planter, though. You need your fertilizer spreader you may have used for liming. Unload lime, if there's any left in the machine, refill it with solid fertilizer and get back to the field. 

More about fertilizing

Step 6: Cut off the haulms

As soon as the crops are fully grown, you shouldn’t waste any time. With seasonal growth activated, the sugar beet will wither after November. 

Tip! You can disable plant withering in the game settings.

Harvesting sugar beet requires cutting off the tops first. This can be done simultaneously with the actual harvest. But since we’re not using an expensive combine harvester, we’ll use a simple haulm topper plus a harvesting tool. We’re doing both steps separately. So, lower the haulm topper into the field and go!

Tip! If your tractor is strong enough, attach the haulm topper in front of your tractor and the harvester tool on the rear.

Step 7: Harvest the sugar beet

Are the tops cut off? Good. Then take your harvester tool now, attach it to the tractor, and start harvesting. Lower the header, start the engine and hit the gas. Since your finances allow only a starting tier harvester, the tank will fill up quickly. Is it filled up to the brink, get the trailer to unload. When sitting in the harvester, click the button to extend the pipe and position it directly above. It will unload automatically until the trailer is full.

Step 8: Selling the sugar beet

Now, look for the best selling point on the prices screen. Unload the trailer in the designated area. Since prices fluctuate over the year, you might want to store them to sell them later. You can see the price fluctuation on the respective screen.

Tip! Sugar beet can’t be stored in a silo. If you want to sell them later, you have to unload them on the ground.

Well done!

Congratulations, you harvested and sold your first batch of sugar beet. Take your time and start on the next lesson, when you’re ready. And don’t forget to clean up your machines once in a while. Stay with the Farming Simulator Academy and you become a virtual farmer in no time!

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