Sugar beet rhizomania ‘root madness’ increasing

Rhizomania “root madness” disease in sugar beet is spreading, but plenty of varieties are now resistant to it.

That’s the reassuring message from Broom’s Barn’s Mike May.

With aerial surveys for rhizo outbreaks abandoned and only limited field surveys conducted this season, grower reports suggest the disease is becoming more widespread.

“There seems to be a lot of rhizo in fields this year, and many growers are becoming resigned to the fact that they will have to learn to live with it,” says Mr May.

“The good news is that there are now some very good varieties that can tolerate it. Seven out of the 20 on the list are resistant to the two main strains, A and B.

“We’re still concerned about the P strain which is a bit more aggressive on the tolerant varieties. But so far it has still only been found on two fields near Norwich.”

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