Complete: Evaluation of novel defoliators

Timescale: 2011 - 2012
Project Lead: Dr Ed Burks
Project Sponsor: BBRO

Project Summary

To evaluate the yield gains that could be obtained in commercial sugar beet defoliation systems.

Main Objectives

The acceptance of whole beet a t factories will increase recovered sugar yields to the benefit of both side of the industry.  It is already driving changes in harvesting technology with the development of several new defoliators that allow more of the crown to be recovered.  The series of evaluation undertaken in this project will help evaluate the relative effectiveness of three new commercial defoliators in removing foliage and recovering extra yield.

Outcomes / Key Message For Growers And Industry

  1. The exponential relationships between potential yield loss and the absolute diameter of the topping scar varied from site to site depending on the overall diameter of the beet. On the other hand, the ratio of the topping scar diameter to the widest diameter of the beet remained consistent across sites (Fig. 1). This ratio is therefore a useful measure of the effectiveness of the topping process that also provides an estimate of potential yield loss.
  2. The frequency distributions for the topping scar diameter show that the Grimme flail uniformly removed much less of the beet crown than any of the commercial harvester systems. The mean topping scar diameters were 2.1, 4.0, 4.9 and 5.4 cm, respectively, for the Grimme, Vervaet, Standen and Holmer machines (LSD = 0.83).
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BBRO is a not for profit making company.
We are set up jointly by British Sugar plc and the National Farmers' Union.

British Sugar
National Farmers' Union