Sugar loss due to storage rot has a substantial economic impact on the sugar industry. The gradual spread of saprophytic fungi such as Fusarium and Penicillium spp. during storage in beet clamps is an ongoing challenge for postharvest processing. Early detection of shifts in microbial communities in beet clamps is a promising approach for the initiation of targeted countermeasures during developing storage rot. In a combined approach, high-throughput sequencing of bacterial and fungal genetic markers was complemented with cultivation-dependent methods and provided detailed insights into microbial communities colonizing stored roots. These data were used to develop a multi-target qPCR technique for early detection of postharvest diseases.