Beet growers are being urged to take advantage of new varieties and cheaper seed treatments for 2007.
Decisions made over the next fortnight would be critical to the profitability of next year’s crops, said British Sugar’s John Prince. “The right varietal and treatment choices will play a critical part in maximising establishment and putting the 70t/ha target in growers’ sights.”
He advised growers to take advantage of the highest-yielding varieties on the NIAB list. “For conventional varieties that’s Ace, Kingston, Palace, Pernilla or Opta, while in rhizomania-susceptible areas it’s Bobcat, Mars or Zanzibar.”
To get the most of these varieties good establishment needed to be safeguarded by the right seed treatment, he said. “So Poncho Beta’s enhanced soil pest control will be an important consideration. In last year’s NIAB trials it produced the highest levels of establishment ever recorded – in excess of 90%.”
Poncho Beta (clothianidin + beta-cyfluthrin) was also useful where virus yellows was likely to occur, he said.
Welcome price cuts to the cost of seed treatments had been negotiated in July’s Inter Professional Agreement, he added.
That included a £1/unit reduction in the price of Advantage priming allowing its introduction as the universal treatment, while Poncho Beta had been reduced by £4/unit. Both reductions would be held until 2009, he said.
Seed orders and the return of 2007 contract offers should be made by 20 November. Limited supplies of Gaucho (imidacloprid) treated seed and non-primed combinations were also available on a first-come, first-served basis from the British Sugar helpdesk.