• Sugar beet being drilled with Strube UK's pasteur sugar beet seeds

BBRO/BSPB Sugar Beet Recommended List 2018

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BBRO/BSPB Sugar Beet Recommended List 2018

The new BBBRO/BSPB Sugar Beet Recommended List for 2018 has quite a few changes from last year, a wholly new look and lots of choice.

Four varieties leave the list (SY Muse, BTS 260, BTS 340 and Davy) and six new varieties are added (Daphna, Senada KWS, BTS 3325, Landon, Degas and Bloodhound).   The new recommendations, which will be available from four different suppliers, are a testament to the continuing hard work that breeders are doing to advance yields.

For 2018 the “Recommended” and “Descriptive” Lists, as we had previously, have been combined to form a single, unified List. Previously, the Beet Cyst Nematode tolerant and AYPR Resistant varieties had been displayed separately in the “Descriptive List” because the yield data for these varieties was only derived from uninfected conditions and gave no real indication of how they might perform under pest or disease pressure.

The other big change to the List is the look of it. Instead of varieties being listed down the left hand side of the page , with the parameters such as yield, sugar content and bolting along the top, the varieties are listed across the top of the page and the parameters are now down the left margin. As such, the sugar beet Recommended List now falls in line with the Lists for all other combinable crops.

There are a total of 25 sugar beet varieties on the BBRO/BSPB Sugar Beet Recommended & Descriptive Lists for 2017. There are 16 rhizomania resistant varieties on the main Recommended List for the primary market segment, which makes up more than 95% of the national crop.  And on the 2017 Descriptive List, there are 6 varieties for beet cyst nematode infected land – some 4 – 5% of the national crop, and 1 variety for land troubled by the AYPR strain of rhizomania.

Lots of Choice for Sugar Beet Growers

Sugar beet growers have plenty of choice and all the Listed varieties should do a decent job – hence their Recommendation. However, there are some important and useful differences to exploit.

Variety selection is not necessarily all about yield: additional characters, such as consistency of performance, bolting, establishment, disease resistance and sugar content are all factors that should be taken into consideration. And now, with the increasing focus on input costs, the cost of seed is likely to also figure in the selection process. There are variations in performance, provenance and price that can make a real difference to the productivity in the field and the profitability of the crop.

The new BBRO/BSPB Recommended List offers a mixture of proven and new varieties with high yield potential and all 25 varieties are in a different league to those of ten years ago. The Recommended List is based on the results from trials over the previous three years. These trials will encompass as many regions and soil types – not to mention climatic variations, as is feasible within budgetary constraints. With a better number of trials now in the current trials matrix (2016 – 10, 2015 – 7, 2014 – 8) that goes to create the Recommended List, sugar beet growers should feel reasonably confident in using the data.

That said, the difference in performance between sometimes specially selected trial seed and full commercial seed production is worth taking into account. The provenance of the seed and the credibility of the variety’s relative performance have become materially important to variety choice. Over the years, we have seen that some initially leading varieties do not live up to their promise and give a performance far short of what was shown in trials, while others, that might have been discarded on a shorter list, go on to prove their value in the longer term with consistent and improving performance.

So selecting varieties is very much an exercise in risk management. You need to balance the potentially exciting new choices with others that are proven and trustworthy. Statistically, there is not a great deal of difference between the leading varieties, so performance over a number of seasons and commerce should be taken into consideration.

In addition, conventional wisdom argues that up to half the crop should be in the Fully Recommended (R) varieties, which are fully commercially proven, and we would still suggest that both Haydn and Pasteur are sound and reliable choices for every variety selection.

BBRO/BSPB Recommended & Descriptive Lists 2018

If you would like to know more about the BBRO/BSPB Recommended & Descriptive Lists, then please do not hesitate to contact the Strube UK team.  Alternatively you can me by calling our Fakenham office on (01328) 851572 or by emailing me by clicking here.