Sugarbeets have recently become a hot new addition to your food plots. It is a good “addition” to your food plot not a single source food plot. Remember deer are browsers and naturally enjoy variety in the wild and a food plot should provide variety. In the fall food plot add sugarbeets to your greens mixture and in the summer food plot add sugarbeets to the spring summer planting.
Sugarbeets have been commercially grown for sugar production for many, many years but only recently been used as an addition to food plots.
Sugarbeets grow well mixed in with many other food plot selections. Sugarbeets provide a lot of energy to deer in the fall (sugarbeets “the root” are 25 to 30 percent fructose or sugar). The energy is converted to fat stores in the body of the deer.
Planting: Sugarbeets may be planted anytime as long as the nighttime soil temperature is 60 degrees or above.
Spring planting: March 15 through June in the South
April 1 through June in the Transition zone
Fall planting: September 1 through October 30 in the South
July 15 through August 30 in the Transition zone
Prepare a good seed bed with a disc harrow, plow etc. Drag the area with chain link fence or large pipe to smooth and level the surface.
Spread 100 lbs. of 16-4-8 or equivalent fertilizer per acre of food plot. Spread 10 lbs. of Sugarbeet seed per acre or 5 lbs. per acre if mixing with greens, turnips, kale, Dacon radish, Alyceclover, Joint Vetch or other food plot seed.
Drag the fertilizer and seed in with chain drag to lightly cover the seed up to ½ inch deep. Germination may take a few weeks if it doesn’t rain and covering the seed is necessary to keep birds from eating the seed.