Crop stability is a key component for a successful and profitable sugar beet crop. Today, growers have a range of tools, technologies and elite varieties, to tackle and limit the ever increasing threats from pests, diseases and weeds. For example, via monitoring and deployment of appropriate varieties, growers are able to protect their crop against the standard or more aggressive strains of rhizomania, and more recently, provide tolerance to beet cyst nematodes. In addition, pellet technology provides a platform for fungicides to be placed next to the developing seedling to prevent black leg and similar early season diseases, whilst the use of insecticide seed treatments has revolutionised pest control ensuring virus-carrying aphids and the soil pest complex are currently less of a threat than they used to be.
However, ongoing challenges such as further reductions in the availability of active ingredients due to changes in regulation, resistance in pests, diseases and weeds or the increasing battle to identify novel products for their control, are issues that need to be addressed. This, coupled with changes in climate, that affect existing issues or bring new problems closer to our shores, all ensure that there are a number of areas that BBRO is or needs to assess via its current research portfolio.
Therefore, crop stability is an important part of the BBRO research portfolio to limit the impact of pests, diseases and weeds on the growth and yield of the sugar beet crop. Currently, the BBRO invests in a range of projects in this research pillar and surveillance, monitoring and diagnostic methods are all key components to provide early warning systems. In addition the BBRO works closely with the wider industry and growers and undertakes pilot projects, where appropriate, that may then develop into larger research projects.
BBRO are continually assessing research in this area and are open to further applications.