The co-operative work with farmers of the state in studying sugar beet culture was less extensive in ’94 than in any season since the work was begun in ’91. Only 21 farmers applied for seed, and only 11 sent in samples of beets in the fall for analysis. The dry season was very unfavorable, both for quantity and quality of crop. Nevertheless, the results were better than expected, and show that in parts of the state, at least, a fair crop of beets of fair saccharine quality can be grown in Iowa even in as dry a season as may ever be expected. According to reports of the U. S. Weather Bureau, the average rainfall of the state during May, June, July and August was only 6.75 inches, only half inch more than it was during the two months of September and October, viz. 6.24 inches. [The local observations at Ames—reported at the end of this bulletin—showed even more extreme conditions; the rainfall during May, June, July and August being only 6.40 inches, while during September and October it was 8.28 inches.] Thus the ideal conditions as to rainfall, for producing beets of good saccharine quality, were reversed in order of time; these conditions being abundant rain during spring and early summer, with but little during the autumn. The abundant rains of last autumn, continuing until near time for harvesting the beets, kept them growing at the time when, had they made normal growth previously, which as a rule they had not— they should have been ripening, ie. developing sugar from the products of previous growth and assimilation. Thus while the autumn rains increased the yield of beets, they did not make conditions favorable to the development of a high quality, as measured by sugar contents and purity.
Patrick, G. E.
"Sugar beets In Iowa.,"
Bulletin: Vol. 3
, Article 4.
Available at: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/bulletin/vol3/iss28/4