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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Method for in-field texture analysis of sugar beet roots using a handheld penetrometer

English, William; Ekelöf, Joakim; Vancutsem, Françoise; Leijdekkers, Martijn; Kleuker, Gunnar; Hoffmann, Christa M.;


Methodology for analysing textural properties of sugar beet roots in the laboratory has previously been established. It has been shown to be reliable and of value in exploring relationships between textural properties, damage rates, and storability of varieties. In this paper, a methodology for the assessment of textural properties in-field, prior to harvest, using an inexpensive handheld penetrometer is examined. Three sugar beet varieties were grown in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden during 2019. Textural properties were assessed in-field with the handheld penetrometer 2, 1 and 0 months prior to harvest, and with the laboratory penetrometer directly after harvest. Comparison of the results showed generally strong correlations. A power analysis suggests a difference in mean Handheld Pressure of 0.10 MPa could be found significant within a large trial with a block design. The reliability of the handheld penetrometer was further assessed in the Swedish national variety trials over three years (2019-2021). Correlation coefficients of 0.86 and 0.94 were found between mean Handheld Pressure for 2019 and 2020, and 2020 and 2021 respectively. The handheld penetrometer can be applied as an economic means of quantifying differences in textural properties of sugar beet varieties. Clear operating procedure and training must exist.


Mechanical properties; textural properties; firmness; pre-harvest measurement; post-harvest losses

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil & Plant Science

2022, volume: 72, number: 1, pages: 623-634

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology
Ekelöf, Joakim
NBR Nordic Beet Research Foundation
Vancutsem, Françoise
Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut tot Verbetering van de Biet (IRBAB-KBIVB)
Leijdekkers, Martijn
Institute for Sugar Beet Research (IfZ)
Kleuker, Gunnar
Institute for Sugar Beet Research (IfZ)
Hoffmann, Christa M.
Institute for Sugar Beet Research (IfZ)

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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