Field studies elucidating the relation between soil structural properties and sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) growth are scarce. To close this gap for temperate climate in central Europe, soil and crop data from a long-term field study on a Luvisol with different soil tillage and wheeling treatments were subject to analyses of correlation and variance/covariance. In spring 2004-2006, penetration resistance (PR), bulk density (BD), volume of pores >50 μm (air filled pore volume, AFPV) and air permeability (AP) were determined in 5-10, 18-23, 30-35, 40-45, and 55-60 cm soil depth. Sugar beet yield and fibrous root growth was measured at several dates during the growing season. Variation of soil structural properties was largest in the 18-23 cm depth, while in all other layers variances were substantially smaller. Sugar beet yield correlated significantly to data from 18-23 cm depth but not from other layers. Surprisingly, at May harvest PR and BD showed a positive correlation to yield, while AFPV and AP were negatively related to yield. From July onward these relations changed fundamentally: now, PR and BD were negatively correlated to yield, while the correlation was positive for AFPV and AP. Introducing PR from 18-23 cm depth as a covariate to the ANOVA of yield data from September harvest decreased treatment (tillage x wheeling) variance by -76% compared to -31-52% due to the other soil parameters. Fibrous root length density from 15-30 cm depth in July showed only a weak correlation to soil properties (18-23 cm). In contrast, increasing PR significantly increased fibrous root diameter (July) and taproot fanginess (September). From this study it can be concluded that elevated soil strength in topsoil layers may impede sugar beet taproot formation even though nutrient and water supply are not limited by soil strength. Soil tillage and other management operations have to assure a spring PR of 0.5-1 MPa and a BD of 1.35-1.45 Mg m-3 in the topsoil down to at least 20 cm depth for high yielding sugar beet crops on Luvisols.