Sugar beet production during the past 50 years has been characterised by remarkable progress in productivity. In this contribution the influence of the different production factors on productivity and value added growth is analysed by regarding input and output development as well as price changes, with special focus on the breeding progress. During this period there has been a shift in the importance of the different factors of production for productivity development. Until the 1980s sugar beet breeding mainly initiated remarkable yield and quality improvements as well as seed and especially labour savings. Since then, technical progress in plant protection, mechanisation and organization allowed considerable cost savings especially through labour savings and partly yield and quality growth. On the whole, the contribution of sugar beet breeding to value added growth during the last 30 years annually amounted to around 80 DM per hectare. During the last 20 years, based on beet price reductions, the seed related progress only amounted to around 20 DM per hectare, whereas cost savings and partly yield increases of 80 DM per hectare, based on chemical, mechanical and organizational technical progress, where considerably high. But, the remarkable benefit of various disease resistant varieties developed since the 1980s is not included here. As sugar beet cropping in large infested areas without the new resistant varieties would not be competitive any more, their benefit partly amounts to more than 2000 DM per hectare. With the technical optimisation of the production process for sugar beets being mostly completed now, further productivity progress is mostly expected from bio-technological progress.