We have only been growing sugar beets for 3 years. I have learned alot in those 3 years, and have plenty more to learn. One question that is asked quite frequently is 'What is defoliating beets?'. Well, I happen to get some close up pictures of the defoliater last week as the guys were opening up a new field.
Basically, the defoliator has a bunch of paddles inside and whips the tops of the beets off. This is the first step. After the beets have been defoliated, the diggers come and and scoop those suckers up and load them into the trucks.