21 February 1997

Sugar beet set for shake up

NEXT years sugar beet Recommended List is set for a shake up, recently released figures from last years NIAB trials suggest.

Several varieties bounced back to form, while others struggled to match the best. Top performer was the provisionally recommended Madison with a growers income of 103.3%. But it has another two years in that category before it can be considered for promotion.

Thirteen new varieties, including the rhizomania resistant Ballerina from KWS, completed their third year of trialling. Those, together with five varieties deferred last year, will be considered for the provisionally recommended category in the 1998 list.

Top three best

The top three performers in the group were Madrid from Danisco, Oberon from Hilleshog and MC129 from KWS. The first two have both had three good years, says NIABs Simon Kerr. "They are as good as the best in the fully recommended category." MC129, now called Lucia, recovered from a dip last year, he adds. Ballerina was 4-5% lower yielding, as expected for a rhizomania resistant type.

The future of four provisionally recommended varieties – Druid, Fiona, Rose and Torc – is under consideration. Torc was not trialled due to seed problems, but the others gave a growers income of 99.6-99.7% of the control. "They do not compare terrible favourably with the best," says Mr Kerr.n