BBRO Research

Our sugar beet research programme covers 3 areas of activity; crop progression, stability and recovery.

New for 2017.

Following an earlier research call on Crop Stability, the following four projects were launched in the Spring of 2017:

  • Understanding variety-fungicide interactions: maximising future yield potential - Dr Mark Stevens, BBRO.
  • Forecasting and monitoring the vectors of virus yellows and their resistance to neonicotinoids – Dr James Bell, Rothamsted.
  • Managing resistance evolving concurrently against two modes of action, to extend effective life of fungicides. Dr Neil Paveley, RSK ADAS.
  • Is rhizoctonia a developing threat to UK sugar beet production, through increased digestate use?  - FERA.

Three new projects launched in Crop Progression pillar in the Summer of 2017:

  • Evaluation of placed nitrogen & phosphate for efficient use of nutrients - Dr Simon Bowen, BBRO
  • Economics of sugar beet irrigation in England - Dr Tim Hess, Cranfield.
  • Sugar beet response to additional applications of sulphur fertiliser and the identification of soil and cropping systems - Dr Simon Bowen, BBRO.

Three new projects launched in Crop Recovery pillar in the Winter of 2017.

  • Identification, quantification and reduction of the key causes of sugar losses on beet harvesters - Dr Simon Bowen, BBRO.
  • Assessment of the reduction of sugar losses by adopting a direct transfer ‘Chaser’-based harvesting system, Dr Simon Bowen, BBRO
  • Interpreting and managing the spatial heterogeneity in sugar beet yields by long-term monitoring of crops. INSPiRE (Interpreting & managing spatial performance in reality)  A joint project with The Morley Agricultural Foundation (TMAF)


Further details on the above projects will be available under the crop stability link below, once the projects are underway. 

Research portfolio

Our full research programme currently consists of 21 projects, some of which our delivered solely in-house but where possible we work in collaboration with other research partners. This increases the knowledge and expertise available, links us to other work and ensures increased return for our investment. The work within each pillar varies dependent on which issues have most importance or urgency to the industry.  

2016 investment in our research portfolio 

Over the past 3 years there has been a high level of research within the crop stability pillar, some of this work is coming to an end in 2016 with new work commencing under both crop progression and crop recovery early 2017.  

BBRO is keen to  work closer with growers and British Sugar Area Managers to assess on farm innovation, and provide scientific rigour to support best practice.  If you have an idea that you would like us to investigate further please let us know using the 'Grower idea form'.

Sugar beet yield

Sugar beet yield has risen steadily over the past 12 years, however, our research shows that there is more potential to be realised.  Our combined programmes of research work will continue to deliver increased in yield for years to come.



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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