We had grown sugar beet in previous years, with mixed results. Whenever it did grow, the sheep, horses and pigs loved it. So it makes sense to us to keep trying, as it adds homegrown calories and nutrition to the sometimes bleak diet of bought in oats and nuts and hay.
In our experience, it can be difficult to get the seeds to germinate and thrive if the soil is still too cold or the weather too dry or chilly. It took a long time this year for the soil to warm up, and in May, finally, we chanced it.
I had started putting seed out by hand. Last year, we had tried a small beet seeder, which didn't do such a good job, so it stayed in the shed this year. But half a row by hand took me half an hour...with 8 or so rows to plant, I was persuaded to put our big seed drill into action - despite the worry that it has quite a wide turning circle, and the potaotes next to the sugar beet patch were just starting to come up and would inevitably be affected by hooves finding a way to turn...
But it worked out very well, the potatoes stood up again forgivingly after the horses had been around twice, and within 15 minutes of manouvering, all the seed was in the ground.
And to our great delight, it all came up, and soon we were on our knees, weeding and thinning....because this, unfortunately, still has to be done by hand, given my beginner's seed drill driving skills, which resulted in rows too wobbly to attempt hoeing by horse