Recommended List

The purpose of the Recommended List (RL) trials is to test the genetic potential of new candidate varieties and to recommend the best for use in the UK.

Where a variety has lower yield than the controlled varieties on the list it may still be listed for a specific use.  In the 2018 RL there is just one such variety and this is for use where the aggressive APYR strain of rhizomania occurs. 

Three of the 13 trials drilled each year are also used for National List (NL) purposes.  It is a legal requirement that a variety is added to the NL before it can be sold and the trials are used to determine whether a new variety has value for cultivation and use (VCU) and is distinct, uniform and stable (DUS).

Dates of release of data and years when trials carried out can be confusing – the table below gives examples of data collection for the 2018 and 2017 RL tables (these are the tables from which growers select varieties for that season’s sowing).  Click on the RL List to see the relevant data table.


Name of list Harvest years of data Launch date Year used for sowing

2018 RL List

2014, 2015, 2016 2nd May 2017 2018 Sowing
 2017 RL List 2013, 2014, 2015   2017 Sowing
2016 RL List 2012, 2013, 2014   2016 Sowing
2015 RL List 2011, 2012, 2013   2015 Sowing



The data provided on these pages are the intellectual property of the BBRO/BSPB. BBRO/BSPB seeks to ensure that the data provided are accurate. However, subject to the operation of law no liability is accepted for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered directly or indirectly in relation to information and options contained in or omitted from these pages.

These data are provided for the purpose of determining the choice of sugar beet varieties for planting and for no other purpose without the written agreement of BBRO. The information must not be published without the express written agreement of BBRO except for printing copies for personal use. ©2017 BBRO


The last three year’s data are used when forming the RL list and these are shown in the three-year datasets in the supplementary table. In most cases there are relatively small differences in yield performance between years but as consistency of performance is an important factor when selecting varieties, these datasets allow the user to look at variation of performance of each listed variety over the three years.


2018 RL List and supplementary table (PDF Download)

2018 Total impurities chart (PDF Download)


2017 Sugar yield (PDF Download) 

2017 Adjusted yield (PDF Download)

2017 Root yield (PDF Download)

2017 Sugar content chart (PDF Download)

2017 Total impurities chart (PDF Download)


There is no evidence from trials to indicate that any recommended varieties show any response to later lifting or greater frost tolerance. No records are currently taken on crown size or top size because differences between modern diploid varieties are small.


Provisionally Recommended varieties (PR) are tested for a minimum of three years before being added to the list in PR1. They are tested for a minimum of three further years before potential promotion to the fully Recommended (R) group. All varieties are issued with an automatic 1-year warning of removal from the list if their adjusted root yield values are below 100% of the controls. Varieties may be recommended for Specific Use (S) if they have specific attributes but are inferior to recommended varieties in other important characters (generally yield) and they justify limited use.  

Growers should be aware that the performance of PR1 varieties has been assessed using small breeders’ seed lots only (1kg). This may provide a less robust prediction of performance than for R, PR2 and PR3 varieties which have been trialled for a longer period and mostly with seed from commercially available seed lots (see seed Provenance Table for details of seed lots used in the trials).  NOTE: Once varieties are placed on the RL List, seed for the RL trials are taken from the commercial bulk supplied to Germains. Where this seed bulk is less than 500 units, the provenance is classified as breeders seed). However, many PR1 varieties are potentially high yielding and should be considered for selection.  Variety selection is not necessarily all about yield:  additional characters e.g. bolting, establishment, disease resistance and sugar content are factors that should be taken into consideration.

The 2018 RL yield data are presented as a three-year mean based on a total of 25 trials in total (8 in 2014, 7 in 2015 and 10 in 2016). ( ) around data on the 2018 RL tables (or [ ] around earlier data)  indicates it is not a full data set with at least one year missing, or “-“ indicates no data. The data for the 2018 individual years are available in the supplementary table.

If selecting a range of varieties it may be beneficial to make selections of material from different genetic backgrounds and the listing of maintainers is intended as an aid for this selection.

Disease ratings for rust and powdery mildew are taken from separate trials sown in areas prone to disease and, in the case of powdery mildew, infected plants are placed in the trial. Scores are derived from infected leaf area. These trials are not taken to harvest; the yields on the RL are from the main trials, which receive a normal commercial fungicide programme. The ratings show the relative leaf infection of the varieties by disease, not resistance or tolerance. The current system does not distinguish whether varieties have resistance or tolerance to the disease, so it could be that a variety that has a high rating for disease tolerance could be much lower yielding in the absence of fungicides than another variety with the same rating. While there is a good selection of foliar fungicides for use in sugar beet, most of which also produce a physiological yield boost, the extra cost of trials to determine resistance or tolerance in varieties is not cost effective. The data in the RL table is a rating whilst that in the supplementary table is recorded percentage leaf infection.

2018 Rust and powdery mildew data (See RL and supplementary tables - PDF Download)


2017 Rust 2013 - 2015 (PDF Download) 

2017 Powdery Mildew 2013 - 2015 (PDF Download)

Growers can use the establishment figures when calculating the seed rate required to produce their target plant population. In practice, the differences recorded between current varieties in trials is relatively small; in addition, growers need to consider that 'establishment' will vary between years (e.g. 90% in 2014 RL trials, 91% in 2015 and 88% in 2016). Growers can verify germination of their commercial seed lots (see Germains germination tables below) which will allow them to make final adjustments to the seed rates of the lots they are drilling.

Establishment figures in the tables are presented as % of controls. Since the 2013 trial season seed has been sown at 9 cm seed spacing and thinned to produce an average population, for yield determination, of just over 100,000 plants per hectare. Pre-thinning plant counts are used to determine the establishment figures. Whilst this is not a true record of establishment (as number of seeds sown is not counted and the plant counts are carried out at the 2-4 leaf stage) it does indicate the small differences that can exist between recommended varieties and seed lots.

The germination figures are those supplied to the industry by Germains and are not part of the official RL testing.

2017 Establishment Table (PDF Download)

2017 Seed Provenance Table (PDF Download)


Germains Germination Table 2017 (PDF Download)

Germains Germination Table 2016 (PDF Download)

Germains Germination Table 2015 (PDF Download)

Sugar beet is a biennial plant that will only become reproductive (i.e. produces a flower, or as it is usually referred to in beet “a bolter”) once it has been exposed to low, vernalising temperatures (for bolting) and long days (for seed production).  Temperatures between 3 and 12°C are the critical temperatures for vernalisation, with temperatures in the mid range having greatest effect and those towards 12°C the least. As a rule-of-thumb around 40 days of vernalisation (where temperatures during the 24 hours are within this range) are required for beet to bolt. Vernalisation can start before the beet emerge, therefore depth of drilling can have an effect on bolting.  Other factors such as field location (north or south region of the beet growing area, by the sea or inland, sheltered by woods or buildings, sloping topography and orientation of field) can also affect the temperatures experienced by beet, and hence vernalisation.  In some instances high temperatures immediately after a cool vernalising day can neutralise this (devernalisation).

Early sown bolting (ESB) trials are sown separately to the main RL trials and are now drilled sequentially from the last week of February to the 5th March. The ESB figures are the number of bolters recorded from these earlier sowings for the last three years and should be used as a guide to compare varieties by growers sowing early and / or where high vernalisation (periods of cold) is expected.

ESB figures can be generally classified as the genetics tendency to bolt under bolting pressure. Later, Normal Sown Bolting (NSB) is often classified as production bolters or contaminants where another source of pollen has pollinated the female plant.  Plant breeders take care to minimise this in their seed production by ensuring good isolation distances and closely aligned flowering and pollination timing but, inevitably, there may be some year-to-year differences in bolting within a variety.

ESB and NSB figures are now quoted as number per hectare based on beet populations of 100,000/ha. This change of reporting and the earlier sowing of the trials has resulted in higher numbers of bolters reported in the RL tables compared to previous methods.


The table below provides the vernalisation experienced at each of the ESB bolting trials included in the 2018 RL dataset.

2018 Vernalisation in early sown bolting trials (PDF Download)


2017 Early Sown Bolting (PDF Download)

2017 Normal sown bolting (PDF Download)

2017 Vernalisation in early sown bolting trials  (PDF Download)


Since 2007, some AYPR rhizomania strains have been identified at a few sites which continue to be monitored and breeders have developed varieties with enhanced resistance genes to the AYPR strains found at these sites. Yields of the AYPR varieties are determined in the normal RL trials, which are carried out in non-infested situations.  Glasshouse studies, using soil collected from AYPR-infected sites, are used to determine their effectiveness at reducing the build-up of this.  Roots of these varieties are tested for the presence of the virus using established diagnostic methods. AYPR approved varieties should be used where this strain is present – but consult BBRO / your BS Area Manager/seed breeder for advice on managing this strain of rhizomania.

Unless the AYPR strain of virus is confirmed in fields to be sown with sugar beet then current AYPR varieties are likely to produce lower yields than standard rhizomania partially-resistant varieties and may be higher bolting.

Most beet cyst nematode (BCN) tolerant varieties are listed for use under BCN infested conditions but have yields suitable for use in non-infested fields. However, before selecting a BCN tolerant variety for non affected situations it is suggested growers discuss this with BBRO and/or their British Sugar Area Manager. BCN tolerance does not apply to free-living nematodes such as those causing Docking Disorder. The BCN tolerance breeding technology has been demonstrated, in independent testing in the UK and mainland Europe, to give yield benefits under BCN infested conditions. The RL List is not indicative of the performance of BCN varieties under nematode infestation but yields are those determined in the normal RL trials, which are carried out in non-infested situations. With tighter rotations, BCN could be an increasing problem in some beet crops but generally this problem remains patchy within fields. It should be remembered that oilseed rape and many other brassica crops act as good hosts for BCN too, and rotation remains a key control method.

Based upon breeders’ submissions the BCN varieties could be listed as resistant, tolerant or light tolerant to BCN infection. Only tolerant types are currently listed and marketed. These types are able to produce higher yields than conventional varieties under these conditions and cause lower multiplication of the nematode population compared to conventional varieties.

The interaction of these varieties with the pest, and multiplication of BCN are complex issues influenced by a number of interrelated factors including starting population, cyst viability, sugar content, drilling date, soil type and weather. Breeders have their own information on the use of BCN varieties, as does BBRO. If you require further guidance or advice discuss with the specific breeder, BBRO or British Sugar Area Manager.

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