Sugarbeets are grown mainly in cooler climates, such as the Northern United States, countries in the European Union and Russia. The plant grows a bushy, leaf structure above the ground and is grown in rows. The root of the plant provides the sugar, which has about 15 percent sugar content. At harvest, the roots are dug up and sent to a processor for refining of the sugar. Other parts of the plant can be used to feed to livestock.
Sugarbeet sugar accounts for approximately 20 percent of the world’s production of sugar. Sugarcane sugar accounts for the remaining amount. In the United States, the beet sugar accounts for the majority of the production and consumption.
Sugar is a carbohydrate. It’s in every fruit and vegetable, but it is in its highest concentration in sugarbeets and sugarcane. The sugar from sugarbeets and sugarcane is the same. Sugar – whether from sugarbeets or sugar cane, or from sugar crops grown using conventional, biotech or organic methods – has the same nutritional value and composition.
Prior to 2008, U.S. and Canadian farmers used several different herbicides to control weeds and protect yield potential in sugarbeets. Then, Monsanto introduced Genuity® Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets to farmers. These beets gave farmers the opportunity for broad-spectrum weed control with the use of Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides while reducing the impact of weeds and the use of other herbicides. These reasons made Roundup Ready Sugarbeets the fastest-adopted genetically modified crop in history.
Monsanto licenses the Roundup Ready® trait to other sugarbeet seed companies. The company does not sell sugarbeet seed.
Sugarbeet Industry Biotech Council FAQ
Alternate Field Crops Manual, University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota
Agribusinss Handbook, FAO