b'PRODUCTION OF SUGAR BEET BY MAIN PRODUCING EU MEMBER STATES, 2007-2017160140120100Million Tonnes8060402002007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017France Germany Poland United Kingdom OthersSource: Eurostat (online data code: apro_cpnh1)resistances/tolerances against pests and diseases and yield sta- derived by our breeding progress. The other half is gained by bility says Stange, adding, the absolute sugar content level isimproved techniques and knowledge of growing and production. limited by physiological plant characteristics. Up to this level,Betaseeds target is to obtain a similar yield increase between all the sugar content can be increased by breeding. producers despite challenges such as Rhizoctonia says Friehe.Stange states that depending on the breeding target, pro-COPING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE gress in sugar yield increase can be up to 2%.For Tschoep, dealing with climate change is one of their majorLoock says that over the last few decades the sugar yield occupations. At our company we follow an integrated approachfrom sugar beets has been significantly increased. Research using dedicated field trial platforms, targeted abiotic stress tests,confirms that about 50% of such increase can be attributed to predictive breeding methodologies using big data. sugar beet breeding. The annual yield progress which is best Stange is testing the companys genotypes under diversedemonstrated in official variety trials under standardized agro-environmental conditions in field trials across several years.nomic practices continues to be 1.5-2% per annum. This also Thus, the genetic material is adapted to diverse environmen- holds under changing environmental conditions. Research does tal factors like heat, drought, but also wet and cool conditions.not yet indicate that a physiological limit has been reached. The best performing genotypes are selected for the target envi- Nevertheless, to make use of the remaining potential it appears ronments and by this adapted to changing conditions, he says. necessary to apply all available breeding techniques as yield Friehe adds: In certain regions we observe less rainfalldevelopment is a complex process and multiple processes in in summer months leading to drought induced yield penalties.sugar beets have to be targeted.Therefore, Betaseed is adjusting their breeding targets to over- Tschoep agrees and says their yield increases are around come this challenge and there are promising genotypes in thethe same number. Over the last years we see that yield potential pipeline. Additionally Betaseed is working on solutions beyondincreases by 1-2% annually, which has been confirmed by sugar the genetics such as biologicals which will support the seeds inbeet institutes in Europe, he adds.drought conditions. Furthermore, the service BetaCare is being rolled out which supports farmers when drought occurs duringREGIONAL DIFFERENCESsummer months. Another challenge includes tighter restrictionsVerlaine states yield is strongly influenced by the agricultural of plant protection means. Betaseed interpretes this as an oppor- practices, water management, pests and diseases in the MENA tunity by breeding varieties that require reduced application ofcountries. plant protection products due to improved disease resistances. Stange states the yield increase is closely linked to the Verlaine says he and his colleagues are working on a betterimprovement in the tolerance and resistance levels. A strong heat and drought stress tolerance in their varieties. focus on the improvement in tolerance or resistances is slowing down the progress for yield. However, under strong infection, YIELD INCREASE highly tolerant or resistant genotypes reach higher yields com-We observe a yearly yield increase by up to 2% of which half ispared to susceptible genotypes.8IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'