People didn’t start breeding sugarbeet varieties until the 19th century. The first selection processes were carried out in regions with low disease pressure, which is why sugarbeet hardly has any natural resistance.
However, resistant and/or tolerant varieties help ensure competitive sugarbeet cultivation and – in light of climate change and underlying political conditions – are becoming increasingly important. They are also part of integrated crop protection.
Plants may, for instance, exhibit resistances against, or tolerances of, diseases, insect pests, pesticides and weather conditions. These properties are the result of successful breeding work.
Betaseed invests a considerable amount in the development of resistances on an annual basis. The aims are as follows:
• Varieties with enhanced resistances
• Varieties with tolerances that exhibit a similar yield level to common varieties without any special resistance properties
The challenging conditions in the USA help Betaseed breeders develop effective resistances. The naturally occurring disease pressure and local selection are key aspects of the breeding process.
In terms of Cercospora (the main leaf spot disease in sugar beet farming), the USA offers an opportunity to perform selection under a wide variety of conditions in the same country. This helps us to develop location-specific Betaseed varieties for Europe that boast outstanding leaf health.
In areas affected by Rhizoctonia, it is virtually impossible to grow sugarbeet unless resistant varieties are used. The conditions and the intensive selection performed by Betaseed in the USA help us to develop Rhizoctonia-tolerant varieties. This kind of breeding work leads to varieties which ensures competitive yields in areas blighted by the disease.