7 June 1996

Good spread to suit most needs – NFU

NOTTS grower and chairman of the NFUs sugar beet committee, Matt Twidale, believes there is a good spread of varieties on the latest NIAB list to suit all needs.

"I am pleased to see new varieties from several different breeders reaching the list as it was rather top-heavy with varieties from one company," says Mr Twidale who grows 34ha (85 acres) of beet on his 180ha (450-acre) Whip Ridding Farm, Kirklington near Newark.

Varied selection

"It is important for growers to consider all the varieties listed as they would not be there unless they had NIABs seal of approval.

"There is a wide and varied selection on offer to suit all soils, local conditions, and individual growers needs. So it is a matter of horses for courses."

This years crop comprises just two varieties, though normally three or four are grown.

"I select a variety that I feel is suitable for this farm, and with the future in mind I usually also have a look at a new one," he says.

He believes the time is coming when the official approach to rhizomania will have to be reviewed. Resistant types would be needed if restrictions were relaxed and beet allowed on infected land.

&#8226 A variety partially resistant to rhizomania, the best performer on infected Dutch land and now in recommended list trials, has done almost as well as Saxon on disease-free UK sites, says IACR-Brooms Barns Dr Mike Asher. &#42

Fully recommended:

Aztec, Celt, Giselle, Roberta, Saxon, Triumph, Zulu.

Provisionally recommended:

Alexa, Druid, Fiona, Jackpot, Madison, Rose, Scarlett, Torc, Verity.