Beet yellows virus has been found in Spanish sugar beet trial crops this season, prompting a rethink on seed treatment use for next season.

The disease, which causes yellowing of the leaves is rarely seen in the southern part of Spain, near Seville.

As Mark Stevens of Brooms Barn explained on the Beet The Best winners study tour, it can lead to yield reductions of up to 50%. “They don’t routinely use seed treatments in this part of Spain, but this may change now.”

It is spread mainly by the peach potato aphid and, after inspecting the patch, he believed it was spread by aphids before Christmas.



“Yield losses are due to a combination of reduced root weight and a lower sugar content. Infection also impacts on impurities, particularly amino nitrogen,” he added.

Farmers Weekly arable reporter Adam Clarke is also on the trip, follow him on Twitter with the hash tag #spanishbeet.