Sugar Beet is one of the advanced crops in Farming Simulator 15. Sugar Beet production requires a large investment in equipment, and an intense effort to harvest. Nonetheless, it is much more profitable than most other crops.
Sugar Beets are a type of root vegetable that grows very densely and provides a hefty income. It is not available straight away, due to the cost of the equipment involved. Even after the equipment is purchased, Sugar Beets require a lot of time and effort to harvest, significantly more than other crops, but yields mostly a larger profit in the end.
As with all other crops, Sugar Beets may be sown only on fields that have been cultivated beforehand, to remove any remains of the previously-planted crops on that field. This can be done with any Cultivator or Plow.
To sow Sugar Beets, a special Sowing Machine is required. There are three such machines available in the base game, including your starting sower. All Sugar Beet Sowers can also sow Corn, but only your starting machine can sow other crops.
Sugar Beet becomes ripe after four growing phases (about 21 hours of in-game time, at the "Fast" growing speed setting). Before it can be harvested, it must first be cut by a Haulm Topper machine specifically designed for Sugar Beets. After this is done, the Sugar Beets themselves can be collected by yet another specialized harvester. There is also a very expensive combine harvester that can perform both tasks in one go. Sugar Beet harvesting is exceptionally slow in either case, because all Sugar Beet harvesters are extremely narrow, taking a long time to process even a small field.
As with all other crops, a Sugar Beet field can be Fertilized in order to double its yield.
Harvested Sugar Beet can be stored in Tipper Trailers or offloaded into its own storage facility at your farm. It can be sold in a variety of locations on each map, for a variable price that depends on current market forces. Sugar Beets do not fetch a high price per ton, but the yield from each harvested hectare is very high, making Sugar Beets one of the most profitable crops overall.
Sowing Sugar Beet Edit
The process of sowing Sugar Beet begins with cultivation of the field, to remove the remains of whatever crop grew there previously. This is a necessary step even if the field was previously used for Sugar Beet. Any Cultivator or Plow is suitable for this task. The wider the Cultivator/Plow, the faster the work will go.
Any piece of cultivated soil can then be worked with a Sowing Machine that is capable of planting Sugar Beet. There are 3 such devices available in the base game: The Pottinger Vitasem 302 ADD (you will have one of these at game-start), the Vaderstad Tempo F8, and the Horsch Maestro 12 SW.
The primary difference between these machines (other than their price) is their working width - the larger the Sower, the faster it will finish working the entire field. Note that none of these three Sowing Machines are capable of cultivating the field as they sow, meaning that all Sugar Beet planting work must include a separate pass with a Cultivator or Plow prior to sowing. Also note that your starting Sower can sow various other crops, but both of the more advanced Sowing Machines can only sow Sugar Beets and Corn.
Remember that the Sowing Machine must be filled with seeds before it can be put to work. This can be done by pulling the machine to the Seed Pallets at your farm, and hitting the Refill button. You may not sow manually with an empty Sowing Machine. A Hired Worker can work even with an empty machine, but at a much higher price than normal.
About 400 liters of seeds are required to plant one hectare of Sugar Beets. This translates to roughly $240 worth of seeds per hectare.
Sugar Beet Growth Edit
Sugar Beet grows at the same rate as most other crops. It requires 4 growth cycles to become ready for harvest. There is very little visual difference between the growing crop and the ripe crop, so check your information menu to determine whether the Sugar Beet is ready for harvest. Growth times are not exact, but on the "Fast" growth speed setting it will take about 21-22 hours of in-game time for the entire field to ripen.
Once ripe, the Sugar Beet will go through two extra stages of ripeness (taking another 10 hours or so at "Fast" speed). You may harvest Sugar Beet during any of these ripe stages - the yield does not change beyond the first ripeness stage.
At the 7th, final stage, Sugar Beet will wither - assuming the option of withering crops is enabled (otherwise it will remain ripe forever). Once withered, Sugar Beet cannot be harvested anymore, and must instead be cultivated or plowed to make room for a new crop.
Harvesting Sugar Beet Edit
As with the other root crop (Potato), Sugar Beet requires two distinct steps to harvest: Cutting off the tops, and extracting the crop from the ground. With cheaper equipment, the two steps must be done separately. Advanced (and highly expensive) equipment may do both simultaneously.
The first step is to cut the haulms (the green leaves) off the Sugar Beet. This can only be done while the Sugar Beet is in its 4th to 6th stages of growth. This is done with a Haulm Topper machine. There is only one such machine in the base game, the Grimme FT 300 (although the Grimme Maxtron 620 may also be used; more on this below). The Grimme FT 300 is not self-propelled, and so must be towed behind a tractor. Sugar Beet cannot be harvested before this step is completed. This Haulm Topper can only process Sugar Beet.
Once the haulms have been removed, the field can then be harvested using another specialized machine designed specifically to collect Sugar Beet from the ground. Again, the base game only has one such machine, the Grimme Rootster 604, which also needs to be towed behind a tractor. This harvester has a very narrow cutting head, which will take a long time to process an entire field. It also has a very small holding tank capacity compared to the amount of Sugar Beet it will likely need to harvest, requiring it to be unloaded into a Tipper repeatedly during the process. Consider driving a second vehicle towing one or more Tippers next to this harvester as it works.
One hectare will yield about 35,000 liters of Sugar Beet, or 70,000 liters if fertilized.
Combination Harvesting Edit
A third piece of equipment available for Sugar Beet harvesting is the Grimme Maxtron 620. This is a self-propelled vehicle (it does not need to be towed), which will cut the haulms and collect the Sugar Beet all at the same time - saving you a lot of work.
Unfortunately, the Maxtron 620 is prohibitively expensive, costing close to half a million dollars. Furthermore, its cutting heads are just as narrow as the Grimme Rootster 604, at only 3.0m. This means that the Maxtron 620 will still take a very long time to process a single field of Sugar Beet. On the other hand, its holding tank is significantly larger than that of most harvesters, so it does not need to be offloaded very often.
In short, if you have the money to spend, the Maxtron 620 can shave off a significant portion of effort off Sugar Beet harvesting.
Storing Sugar Beet Edit
Unlike most other crops, Sugar Beet cannot be stored in your Silo. Instead, it is stored in the middle compartment of the long shed at your farm, alongside Potatos and Wood Chips.
To unload a Tipper here, you will need to drive up close to the correct (middle) compartment of the shed. Note that some Tippers (particularly the larger ones) can only unload from behind, so you will need to reverse your Tipper into the compartment until the option to unload appears.
To retrieve Sugar Beet from the shed, drive a Tipper around the shed to the other side, where a conveyer lift will dump the Sugar Beet into it automatically. Make sure to avoid the conveyers for the Potato and Wood Chip compartments, otherwise they might fill your Tipper with those materials instead.
Selling Sugar Beet Edit
Harvested Sugar Beet can be sold at a variety of different places on each map. Each of these locations, marked by a white "offload" icon, has a grated dumping chamber embedded into the road, where Sugar Beet can be unloaded for sale.
These dumping chambers are used the same as the Silo back at your farm. Drive a tractor or truck towing a Tipper Trailer with Sugar Beet in it over the dumping chamber, and press the key to unload. Note that some Tippers can only unload behind them, requiring you to drive a little past the grate. Others can unload sideways as well.
Sugar Beet is sold immediately as it is unloaded from the Tipper. Each ton (1,000 liters) unloaded from the Tipper will give you around $350-$450 (Normal difficulty), making Sugar Beet a very cheap crop based on its volume. The exact price will differ from one selling location to another, and also depends on several market factors. Repeatedly selling large quantities of Sugar Beet over a period of several hours or days may cause the price to drop (it will recover over time). Alternatively, if Great Demand is in effect for the specific location where you are unloading, the price may be up to 2 times higher than normal!
Price Comparisons Edit
Although Sugar Beet may appear to be exceptionally cheap, its price per ton is misleading, because vast amounts of Sugar Beet can be extracted from every hectare. When this is factored in, Sugar Beet is almost twice as profitable as Wheat, bringing in around $30,000 per every hectare harvested.
The downside, of course, is that Sugar Beet harvesting takes a very long time, due to the narrow machinery involved. It takes even more time if you have separate machines to top the plants and collect the roots, and buying a single machine to do the work simultaneously costs a very large sum of money. This makes Sugar Beet harvesting a serious investment only for the later stages of the game.
Note that Sugar Beet is actually slightly more profitable than Potato, primarily due to the high price (just over $3,000) of the seeds required to plant one hectare of potatoes. Another reason is that Potatoes simply take longer to grow. Otherwise, Sugar Beet and Potato can be grown in tandem, to capitalize on fluctuating prices and Great Demand for both these crop types.