Herbicides used in sugarbeet are commonly adapted from other row crops and may cause injury and yield loss often associated with environmental and edaphic factors. Glyphosate-resistant waterhemp in sugarbeet requires a PRE herbicide, such as S-metolachlor, for its control. The objectives of this research were to evaluate sugarbeet tolerance to PRE S-metolachlor, including air temperature and soil water content interactions with soil series in field and growth chamber experiments. Results from field experiments conducted in 12 environments in 2015, 2016, and 2017 indicated 2.16 or 4.32 kg ai ha–1S-metolachlor applied PRE reduced sugarbeet density and stature but did not reduce root yield, sucrose content, or recoverable sucrose compared with the untreated control in environments with soils with less than 3.5% organic matter (OM) and receiving greater than 40-mm cumulative rainfall within 14 d after planting. In the growth chamber, sugarbeet density and shoot fresh weight following S-metolachlor application was influenced by soil moisture content, air temperature, and soil series but not by S-metolachlor rate. Sugarbeet density and shoot fresh weight were reduced 15% and 106%, respectively, when S-metolachlor was applied to a Glyndon sandy loam (2.6% OM, 9.5% clay) at 100% field capacity (FC) and 14 C compared with S-metolachlor application to a Fargo silty clay (7.7% OM and 54% clay) at 100% FC and 21 C. It is concluded that field selection, rather than herbicide rate, is an important criterion for managing sugarbeet tolerance with S-metolachlor.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; S-metolachlor; sugarbeet, Beta vulgaris L.; waterhemp; Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq.) J.D. Sauer