Current: Canopy Architecture

Timescale: 2018 -2021
Project Lead: Lucy Tillier, PhD student
Project Sponsor: University of Nottingham and BBRO

Project Summary

This project is focusing on sugar beet radiation use efficiency (RUE) which is examining radiation (sunlight) interception by the canopy and measuring its resulting biomass across the season. In recent years, breeders have released sugar beet varieties which differ widely in canopy architecture. Some have a very prostrate canopy whilst others have a much more upright growth habit. A direct relationship exists between radiation interception by sugar beet and sugar yield. Therefore, rapid canopy expansion and closure is vital to maximising yield, which would suggest that a more prostrate canopy would be beneficial. However, in other crops, such as rice and wheat, more upright leaf angles are desirable due to better light distribution through the canopy which leads to higher radiation use efficiency. The aim is to investigate whether a more upright canopy increases the radiation use efficiency and subsequent yield of sugar beet.

Main Objectives

  • To investigate to what extent canopy characteristics (leaf development, angle and area) differ between sugar beet varieties.
  • To assess whether these differing canopy traits affect radiation interception, radiation use efficiency and yield.


Latest Report

Outcomes / Key Message For Growers And Industry

The key differences in canopy architecture have been evidenced in the research undertaken in controlled environment rooms and the glasshouse. This is currently being scaled up in a field trial with the varieties used in the glasshouse. Canopy growth, radiation interception and biomass accumulated across the season will be measured and used to calculate the radiation use efficiency (RUE) of each variety. Latter phases of the project will consider whether management practices should be adapted according to differences in canopy architecture.

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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