Arable News

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Two beet Lists focus grower choice

The new BBRO Recommended and Descriptive Lists of sugar beet varieties 2015

The new BBRO Recommended and Descriptive Lists of sugar beet varieties 2015, a two-pronged approach to providing growers with clearer variety choice guidance, were launched at an open day in early May. Dominic Kilburn reports.Only one new variety appears on the BBRO Recommended List for sugar beet 2015 which has been shortened to 10 varieties – down from 13 last year. In addition, one new variety has joined a second list; which the BBRO describes as its Descriptive List (DL) – varieties with a special recommendation for gene resistance to the AYPR strain of rhizomania or those tolerant to beet cyst nematode (BCN).New variety Hornet, from breeder SES VanderHave, tops the Recommended List with a sugar yield of 101.9 per cent against controls, an adjusted tonnes figure of 102.0 per cent and sugar content of 18.5 per cent. The variety is best suited to the ‘normal sowing’ slot (see opposite for more info).Maddox, bred by Syngenta, is the new addition to the DL as a variety with ‘light tolerance’ to BCN and a sugar yield of 98.6 per cent against controls in uninfected trials.Speaking ahead of the open day, chairman of the Recommended List board, Mike May said that one of the reasons for fewer varieties on the Recommended List 2015 than in previous years was because the system of assessing varieties for recommendation had tightened up. “In the past it could be said that some varieties that made it to the List were marginal, and so we looked at the system and reviewed the rules in terms of how they are accepted.”Mr May explained that for the new format, if varieties perform better than 100.6 per cent of controls for sugar yield then they will almost certainly qualify for the List unless they have a particularly bad characteristic.Varieties between 100.6 and 100.3 per cent of controls (again for sugar yield) will be considered against varieties already recommended and their attributes compared, but for those with a score lower than that then the breeder has to make a special case for it to be considered for listing.”However, if a variety is on the List and rates less than the 100 per cent mean of controls then the breeder will receive a warning and the variety removed for the following year unless it improves to be at least as good as the mean of the control varieties,” commented Mr May.”This has certainly brought the numbers down that qualify for the List but those that are on it are all very good varieties,” he added.Descriptive List
Referring to the Descriptive List, Mr May pointed out that Sandra, from breeder KWS, was the only variety with double gene resistance to the AYPR strain of rhizomania and for growers with land affected by the strain, Sandra was the only option. “If you are a grower and have AYPR on your farm then that is the variety for you.?” Luckily AYPR is not widespread,” he added.In terms of BCN tolerance, he explained that varieties were judged by the way they are likely to perform under different nematode pressure in the soil when they are grown and, as a result, were now categorised as either ‘light tolerant’ or ‘tolerant’. “The latter tend to reduce populations better when there are high levels of populations in the field, but ‘light’ varieties tend to be better yielding,” continued Mr May. “If you have a field with patches of BCN then go for a light tolerant variety or one that yields well in the absence of the pest, but before making this decision it’s important that growers talk to the BBRO and breeders to get advice on how to tackle BCN. In the future it is hoped to take into account the effect of a variety on the overall population of BCN.”?Mr May added that interesting new traits coming through in breeding programmes were likely to accompany these DL varieties in the near future.BoltersHe also pointed out that growers will notice a change in the scores recorded on the latest RL for the ‘early sowing’ category for bolters. “The mean average for bolters per hectare has risen over 50-fold recently because we are putting varieties under much greater pressure by sowing them earlier. It increases the pressure on varieties and gives us greater discrimination between them,” he said.Figures for early-sown bolters are now taken from varieties planted from the 25th of February, and two dates soon after, rather than a variety of later dates that could previously have included sowing up to the end of March.”If growers are sowing at normal dates, in other words around the end of the first week in March, then all the varieties are pretty good, but if they are going earlier, or if cold weather is expected, then they really should consider a variety with a low bolting score,” commented Mr May.?Gapping was introduced for the 2013-sown trials in an attempt to get better quality data and more trials suitable for harvest. These are sown at 9cm spacing instead of 18cm and then gapped to produce a final stand of just over 103,000/ha. Populations are recorded pre-gapping, says the BBRO, to compare establishment. Last year this resulted in nine trials being harvested but without gapping this would only have been six and so the technique is being used again for the 2014 trials, reports the organisation.Hornet creates a buzz
Hornet, SES VanderHave’s new sugar beet variety on the BBRO’s Recommended List 2015 offers the highest yielding variety to date for UK growers, says the company.
“Hornet is the latest variety developed by SES VanderHave specifically for the UK market,” says SES VanderHave UK general manager, Ian Munnery. “It is the culmination of ten years of breeding trials and three years within the official National List trials. Looking at this data, what stands out is the consistency of the data for root yield and sugar content over the past three years.”While rust resistance is good, the variety will still benefit from an effective spray programme to prolong root quality during a long campaign, he points out.?Hornet joins a number of other SES VanderHave varieties on the 2015 Recommended List, including Stingray, Cayman, Springbok and Lipizzan, which have all proved increasingly popular with UK growers in the past two years, says Mr Munnery. All these varieties offer resistance to standard rhizomania (Rz1) strains.In addition, for the small number of growers for who the threat of beet cyst nematode is a concern, the company’s variety Mongoose offers BCN tolerance as well as standard Rz1 resistance.”We are delighted to see our portfolio of varieties making a significant contribution to the BBRO Recommended List 2015,” said Mr Munnery. “It is recognition of the benefits for UK growers from our investment in extensive UK trials and development which has helped growers deliver some record harvests over recent years.”*SES VanderHave is investing over 8m (10m) in a brand new 20,000m, high-tech research centre adjacent to its headquarters in Tienen, Belgium, the company has recently announced. The new facility extends and improves its research capacity and will also enhance the collaborative research it undertakes with universities and institutes worldwide, including within the UK.All good varieties
With 16 varieties in total in three market segments on the combined BBRO sugar beet Lists for 2015, Strube’s Richard Powell said that they are all good varieties for growers to choose from. He pointed out that on the Recommended List 10 varieties would supply 95 per cent of the market, while the other six, in the specialist Descriptive category, would cater for the remaining five per cent.Mr Powell suggested that while the difference in sugar yield between the ten on the Recommended List was only 3 per cent, small differences in their ratings were worth exploring, however when it came to early sowing, he said that the difference between the highest bolting varieties and the lowest, was a massive 1,300 per cent.He said that Strube’s high yielding variety Haydn had the best combination of high sugar yield (101.6 per cent), high sugar content (18.5 per cent), low bolting (230) and good establishment available.”It’s suitable for all soil types, it’s ideal for earlier drillings and also normal sowing dates as well as an early or late harvest.?”It’s an all-round variety,” he added.First listed in 2011, Strube’s other variety on the Recommended List is Pasteur which comes with the lowest bolting score when early sown while its yields have remained very consistent.In terms of the Descriptive List, Mr Powell said that BCN tolerant variety Thor, as well as having tolerance to beet cyst nematode, also had the highest establishment count on both the Recommended and Descriptive Lists.The variety also had the best bolting resistance of all the BCN varieties on the List and, being ‘tolerant’, growing the variety resulted in a lower multiplication of BCN compared with ‘light tolerant’ varieties, he said.


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