Since the introduction of biotechnology into the North American sugarbeet markets, productivity has increased each year at an average rate of 3 %. Since 2008, sugarbeet fields have been healthier and more productive than ever before. The primary driver for this change was the introduction of Roundup Ready sugarbeet seed.
The adoption of Roundup Ready sugarbeet seed was the fastest rate of all biotech crops. Sugarbeet growers immediately saw improvements in sugar and yield due to less chemical setback each time seedlings were treated. Prior to the introduction of Roundup Ready sugarbeet seed it wasn’t uncommon to spray fields 4-5 times each season, with multiple chemicals that were a combination of many different products. Growers typically followed a strict application schedule of chemicals that required application 1-2 days after weeds started to emerge. Environmental conditions may or may not have been conducive to spraying but most critical was timely application for maximum weed kill.
Now, growers in the western US markets are spraying glyphosate 1-3 times during the growing season. Sugarbeet seedlings suffer no setback and application timing is not nearly as critical as traditional chemicals. Growers have stated that they have their lives back and were not tied to a summer spray program that impacted their quality of life and their pocketbook.
Within the next few years, Betaseed will offer the next generation of biotech traits for North American sugarbeet growers. The new herbicide tolerant seed will offer three modes of action and will confer tolerance to glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba herbicides. This new trait is at the experimental stage of development and upon regulatory approval, field testing will begin. This new tool will continue to help improve sugarbeet yields across all North American markets.