Fodder beet’s popularity has grown recently, due to its yield potential, making it an attractive forage option for dairy, beef and sheep producers.

Its fresh weight yield potential can be around 100t/ha, 40t/ac, making it the highest yielding forage crop for the UK climate.

Regional trials by Agrovista taking place at Pencwm Farm in Moylgrove, Pembrokeshire, are investigating the yield potential of a range of leading fodder beet varieties.


The best all-rounder is Cagnotte. Two years of trials at Pencwm have shown it to be high yielding in fresh weight and DM.

Appearance-wise, it’s similar to older variety Robbos, with a smooth pale orange skin and consistent root size. Blaze looks promising, but is having seed production problems. For a large red beet similar to Blaze, consider Merveille.


Jamon is high fresh weight yielding, grows a good distance out of the ground and is soft and palatable to graze. Brunium is commercially available 2021 so may then fill this spot.

Dry matter (DM)

For kg of DM/ha, Magnum remains one of the best. Not as smooth skinned as Cagnotte and appears as more of a sugar than fodder beet, but still easy to lift with a top or bottom lifter.

As with any high-yielding crop, management is key in helping fodder beet to achieve its potential.

Points to consider when growing fodder beet:

*Establishment can be hindered considerably in the presence of weeds, so a stringent herbicide programme is critical. Consider both pre and post-emergence options as well as cultural control methods.

* Later lifted crops will yield more with the addition of a fungicide.

* Because fodder beet grows from 3oc, retaining green leaf area through winter can prove difficult. Look for options that assist this.

* Fodder beet is potash hungry, but this can be supplied through cost effective alternative agricultural salt.

* It’s possible that a crop can be in the ground for 6-11 months, yet all fertiliser is applied pre-drilling. Therefore, longer lasting nitrogen will be beneficial.

* Ask the question, will it be fed straight away or ensiled?

* Is the crop being lifted with a top or bottom lifter, or not lifted at all and grazed? This will have an impact when selecting a specific DM% and depth in the ground.

Putting it into practice

Customer Dyfed Davies of Eisteddfa Fawr in Crymych has devised a customised approach for grazing fodder beet with sheep.

He has selected a variety with the highest fresh weight yield with the least percentage in the ground and low DM%. This has maximised yield, voluntary intake, crop utilisation and stocking units.

Although this is a brave gamble due to potential frosts and the fact the variety could be difficult to harvest should grazing plans change, it’s a system that works effectively for his individual farm.