Complete: Early-sown bolting trials to characterise varietal bolting

Timescale: 2009 - 2011
Project Lead: E Burks, C Walters & G Milford
Project Sponsor: BBRO

Project Summary

The BBRO vernalization-intensity bolting model for sugar beet - initially reported in the final report of an earlier BBRO Project and published in its final version in a peer-reviewed scientific paper - provides an objective way of quantifying seasonal intensities of vernalization and defining the bolting characteristics of particular varieties. It has the potential to predict the numbers of bolters that varieties will produce when sown on particular dates in the different factory areas in a given growing season. However, this requires the threshold vernalization requirement and bolting sensitivity parameters of the model to be characterised for current commercial varieties and those likely to replace them in the future. The parameterisation requires varietal bolting to be assessed under more intensively vernalizing conditions than those provided by the present system of BBRO early-sown bolter trials.

Outcomes / Key Message For Growers And Industry

To be effective, the use of the vernalization-intensity bolting model as a commercial advisory tool requires the following measures to take place:

  1. The establishment of a network for recording of local temperatures centred on British Sugar’s area managers. As well as supplying data to estimate the bolting risk, this network would also serve to forecast the risk of crop frost damage. Cheap, robust and downloadable instruments to facilitate temperature recording are now commercially available.
  1. Procedures will need to be established for centrally collating the temperature data, calculating and updating intensities of vernalization as the season progresses, predicting the risk of bolting in different factory areas, and disseminating the information through the BBRO Knowledge Transfer System.
  1. Provision will need to be made for periodic bolting-characterisation trials of the type used in the present project to monitor the bolting behaviour of existing and future varieties.


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We are set up jointly by British Sugar plc and the National Farmers' Union.

British Sugar
National Farmers' Union