Sugar beet breeder KWS and the biotechnology division of BASF are collaborating to develop a genetically modified high-yielding sugar beet by 2020.
The aim of the project is to produce sugar beet varieties with higher sugar and energy yields as well as greater drought tolerance. The new products are expected to go on the global market from 2020.
Dr Peter Hofmann, head of the sugar beet division at KWS, said: “We are aiming for increased yields of 15%, which will make the cultivation of sugar beet considerably more competitive and enable farmers to enjoy further cost benefits. As a result, a yield of 20t/ha of sugar will become standard.”
BASF Plant Science group vice-president Marc Ehrhardt said: “This will allow farmers around the world to benefit from high-yielding varieties and to gain efficiency.”
Under the agreement, BASF Plant Science will expand its biotechnology work into sugar beet.