Seven new sugar beet varieties have been added to the 2020 Recommended List – Advena KWS and Smart Janninka KWS from KWS; BTS 4100 from Limagrain; and Vixen, Cougar, Puffin and Lightning from SESVanderHave.
As well as reflecting the continued improvement in yield and other key characteristics, such as early-sown bolting in varieties being put forward by breeders, the list sees the introduction of the first ALS herbicide tolerant sugar beet variety.
Mike May, chairman of the RL board says: “2018 was a difficult growing season for the commercial crop and trials alike.
“Adverse weather delayed drilling, and this was followed by a prolonged drought and a late burst of nitrogen when the drought finally broke in autumn.
“Despite this, the control varieties in the trials still managed to achieve a mean yield of 112 adjusted tonnes per hectare, with new varieties offering up to a 4 per cent yield increase above that, highlighting the resilience of the crop in such conditions.
“In addition, it is also good to see the first ALS herbicide tolerant variety – Smart Janninka KWS – on the list.
“The herbicides for use with this variety as an integral part of the SmartConviso system have now been approved, and should be available for the 2020 sowings.”
Breeders have put much effort into producing low bolting varieties specifically for UK conditions and six of the new varieties did not bolt in any of the RL normal sown trials (sown after March 15) in any of the three years of testing (2016-2018 inclusive).
These were Advena KWS, BTS4100, Vixen, Conger, Puffin and Smart Janninka KWS, although the latter did so when sown early and is not recommended for sowing before March 15, adds Mr May.