RENVILLE -- More than 90 percent of this year's sugar beet crop for Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative was planted with RoundUp Ready seeds, as compared to just 15 percent of last year's crop, according to information provided earlier this year by company officials.
The switch to RoundUp Ready beets was well received by growers. The plants are genetically modified so that they are tolerant of the herbicide glyphosate, an effective weed killer. Its use meant that growers could reduce the number of trips they made over fields to apply herbicide, and they enjoyed larger time frames in which it could effectively be applied.
More than 95 percent of the more than 1 million acres of sugar beets planted in North America this year were RoundUp Ready varieties, according to published reports. Despite the costs of the technology fee that comes with the Monsanto seeds, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative urged its growers to plant more seeds per acre to see improved yield performance.