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Six new sugar beet varieties from three breeders have been added to the recommended list for 2022. New varieties added to sugar beet list

Six new sugar beet varieties from three breeders have been added to the recommended list for 2022.

The varieties are Katjana, Maruscha and Smart Rixta (all from KWS);  BTS3020 and  BTS5770 (both from Limagrain UK) and Wren from SESVanderHave UK. They all demonstrate improvements which are being made to UK crop potential.

Katjana is the second highest yielding variety on the list and tolerant to beet cyst nematode. Wren and BTS 3020 also offer high yields, says the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO). BTS5770 has the highest sugar content.

Maruscha provides partial tolerance to beet mild yellowing virus while Smart Rixta KWS is an ALS herbicide tolerant variety. The claims for these three tolerances are based on breeder data and were not tested in BBRO trials.

Maruscha and Smart Rixta are not recommended for sowing before mid-March. Both have shown low bolting characteristics when sown later in the last three years of trials. Katjana and BTS5770 produced no bolters in those three years.

“The 2020 trial season was more difficult compared to recent years,” says Mike May, who oversees the list. This was reflected in the lower yield of the control varieties (105.8 adjusted tonnes per hectare) compared to 2019 (118t/ha) and 2018 (112t/ha).

Yields were less than losses suffered by many growers. But the BBRO dataset is based on yields from good even sites – and only five out of 13 trial sites were successful in 2020.

Dry weather after drilling led to variable emergence and some trials were lost because of uneven stands. The early arrival of aphids meant a number of foliar sprays were required to reduce virus levels.

“Once again all credit must go to the harvesting and tarehouse teams and trial operators for ensuring sufficient trials were harvested and analysed to allow this RL to be completed,” says Mr May.

The full recommended list and three-year data for each sugar beet variety can be found on the BBRO website at bbro.co.uk.