Soil fertility

  • Fodder beet has certain nutrient requirements to achieve its yield
  • Ideally soil test paddock(s) 6-12 months before planting to 150 mm depth. This will allow time for pH or nutrient issues to be addressed. All basal fertiliser should be applied prior to planting and


Chemical residue

It is important to check the paddock history before planting fodder beet because the crop is sensitive to soil residue left by many commonly used agricultural chemicals.

Check the withholding periods of any chemicals used within the previous two years to ensure the fodder beet will not be adversely affected.



The soil pH should ideally be 6.0-6.3. It can take 6 months or more for lime to act (depending on incorporation, weather, and the type of lime used), so apply this as early as possible. As a rule of thumb, 1 t/ha lime raises the pH by 0.1.



Phosphorus is an essential element for plant establishment and overall yield. Target Olsen P level for fodder beet is 15 or higher. Typically crops benefit from applications of 25-50 kg P/ha as a base dressing.



Nitrogen requirements vary depending on soil type, climate, fertiliser, crop history, and expected yield. Generally a rate of 100-150 kg N/ha for fodder beet will be sufficient. A small amount of this can be applied prior to sowing, with the remainder applied just before canopy closure.



Fodder beet requires soil potassium quick test levels of 4 or higher. As a rule of thumb, if the soil test is lower than 4 apply 200 kg MOP/ha. If above 4, apply 100 kg MOP/ha.



Sulphur at 20-30 kg S/ha is normally applied at sowing.



Recommended quick test soil levels for fodder beet are 10+. If magnesium is required apply 30- 50 kg MgO/ha as a base fertiliser.




If quick test soil values are less than 4, apply 100 kg NaCl/ha as a base fertiliser.



Boron is essential for root crop development. Include 3 kg B/ha in the starter fertiliser. This can be achieved by applying Granular Boron (15% B) at a rate of 20 kg/ha.