Beet growers to benefit from new nematode-resistant variety

Growers expecting to plant the beet cyst nematode tolerant variety Fiorenza KWS will find that their seed order has been upgraded to a better performing variety at no extra cost.

The move follows the Recommended List Committee adding Annouschka KWS to the list for use in the presence of beet cyst nematodes.

And, because Annouschka represents a significant step forward with a 4% yield advantage over Fiorenza in non-infested conditions, and combines this with lower bolting levels, British Sugar has switched stock.

“With orders already in place and Fiorenza clearly superseded by Annouschka but available at the same price it makes sense agronomically and logistically to give growers the better variety,” says British Sugar seeds manager, Richard Nicholls.

Beet cyst nematode damage is being increasingly reported on a range of fen and mineral soils across the Eastern Counties. And, last autumn, British Sugar reported positive soil tests for the pest for the first time on black fen and silts around Peterborough.

The indications are that it could be more widespread than previously thought, says Mr Nicholls.

“All the work in the worst-infected regions suggests that Annouschka is very tolerant and makes a real difference in keeping the pest at bay.”

Growers will receive their seed with the priming and seed treatment option they originally selected, before the end of February.

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