Welcome to "the California Sugarbeet" a web page focusing on sugar production from sugarbeets in California. In the future, other sugar crops may be included. Sugarcane is being grown on a trial basis in the Imperial Valley, and there are a number of alternative sweetener crops being tried in the state, so the page will expand in scope to include other crops as information becomes available. The page is organized to provide an overview of sugarbeet biology and cultivation. There are also calendars of upcoming events and lists of people working on sugarbeet research and extension and their activities. The sugarbeet workgroup has its own section for announcements and projects. The workgroup includes University researchers, farm advisors, sugarbeet industry personnel and others interested in sugarbeets in California. Also, you will find information on the production and management of sugarbeets in California and worldwide as you explore the page. Most of this information was generated by University of California researchers, but some comes from other sources as well. Where appropriate, there are links to other web pages about sugarbeets, sugar, organizations, pesticide registration, integrated pest management (IPM) and other related topics.
This page is a work in progress, and not all parts of it are complete. It will be updated frequently and contents revised as needed. You can ask questions in the "Ask Dr. K" (that's me) section. I will respond as soon as I can, but that may not be immediately. I will use the page to post recent results from my own research trials, and results from work conducted by other university researchers and farm advisors when they wish. I hope you find the page useful and look forward to your comments and suggestions. We have tried to make it easy to use, and allow for a range of uses and levels of interest.
Sugar and sugarbeets have an interesting history. Sugarbeet is one of the most efficient food crops. Every part of the crop can be or is used. The leaves are an excellent forage for ruminants. The roots can be eaten by cattle and sheep as well. Byproducts from sugar refining find uses in food manufacturing, cattle feeding, and for fertilization. Sugar or sucrose is made directly in the plantís leaves and then is stored in by the plant in its roots. The sugar is essentially boiled out of the roots after they are cut up into small pieces and then any remaining secondary compounds are removed and the liquid syrup is crystallized. Sugar is an entirely natural product and is a source of a great deal of pleasure in human life when used wisely. Its production and management provides an interesting agronomic story.
A note on using the page. Most of the images are thumbnails linked to larger views of the images. Some of the graphical image files are large. If you are not using an Ethernet connection, or have a slow modem, downloading these files will tie up your computer for a number of minutes. We have separated the text of most of our technical reports from the image files to allow users to load text files quickly and then select the image files they wish to see.Stephen Kaffka
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last update 12/6/01