Cell cycle activity in dry and germinating untreated and treated (soaked in water and subsequently in fungicide) seeds of two sugarbeet cultivars, collected at commercial harvest time (late mature seeds) and about 2 weeks before this (immature seeds), was investigated by flow cytometry, and by immuno-detection of β-tubulin and the B-subunit of the 11 S globulin. Germination capacity and field emergence were tested. With dry seeds of both cultivars, higher G2 / G1 ratios were observed in the radicle tips of late mature seeds, as compared with those from immature seeds. The late mature seeds contained more partly degraded (soluble) B-subunit of 11 S globulin, typical of germinating or primed sugarbeet seeds. Thus events associated with the onset of germination had occurred in the seed lots collected at commercial harvest time. The cytoskeleton protein β-tubulin was not detectable in dry seeds from either harvest. Western blotting revealed an accumulation of β-tubulin during germination and this was faster in the late mature harvested seeds which was correlated with the onset of DNA replication. Soaking enhanced the rate of cell cycle activation during germination as well as vigour, germination capacity, and field emergence. There was positive correlation between the G2 / G1 ratio and the traits examined in laboratory and field tests. It is concluded that a combined analysis of proteins and cell-cycle-related events can be used in understanding and predicting sugarbeet seed quality.