The BBRO/BSCP sugar beet Recommended List is to receive a radical overhaul in the coming years, to simplify and provide more robust information when required.

Speaking at the BBRO winter conference, chairman of the Recommended List board Mike May said the way data on each variety is acquired will be the first change made.

“It was a tough year for commercial crops, but also for our Recommended List trials. We lost half of them to poor establishment and one more before harvest to bad weather,” said Mr May.

That resulted in just six trials providing data to be fed into the latest list and Mr May said they would prefer at least eight to provide robust results.

“These losses were not been uncommon and we haven’t managed to produce eight for a number of years now, so we will be moving to 9cm rows and spacing to try to minimise those losses.

“Although it doesn’t represent what growers are doing out in the field, it will still allow us to compare genetics and we hope it will save at least three site losses a year,” explained Mr May.

The relevance of some of the data provided on the list was also questioned and although the information may be required, it could be published in the Beet Review to supplement a simpler, more concise Recommended List.

“Impurities and amino nitrogen characteristics tend to be very similar between varieties, so wouldn’t necessarily come into the decision-making process when using the list, so it is not vital that it is included,” said Mr May.

When questioned on the number of varieties included on the list being too high, Mr May was quick to agree.

“We need to increase the breeders’ trust in the list so they won’t feel the need to push so many varieties through the trials system to reach the market,” he said.

The first changes to the Recommended List will be seen at its launch at the BBRO open days this summer.

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