b"SUGAR RUSH WHAT IT TAKES TO DEVELOP A NEW SUGAR BEET VARIETYBY: MARCEL BRUINSO f the worlds sugar production, about 20% comes fromnematodes and leaf diseases like Cercospora beticola and pow-beet sugar, with the other 80% produced from sugardery mildew. Besides this, there are virus diseases like Virus cane. According to the FAO, in 2018, a little over 4.8yellows which is transmitted by aphids. Another very important million ha of sugar beet were harvested, which were distributedfocus is yield stability between environments and years, he says.as follows: EU-28 (EU): 1.7 m ha; East Europe (EE): 1.5 m ha;The No. 1 target remains the intrinsic sugar yield, says North America (NA): 0.5 m ha; Rest of the world (ROW): 1.1 ha.Tschoep. Biotic and abiotic stresses are important and will have All together the hectares produced 275 million tonnes of sugaran increasing importance for the next decade, he explains. The beets. The largest producing countries were Russia, France, U.S.reduced availability of plant protection products (PPPs) in com-Germany and Turkey. The EU is the worlds leading producerbination with climate change will lead to more direct and indi-of beet sugar, with around 50% of the total amount produced.rect damage caused by insects. A large amount of the solutions The northern half of Europe is where most of the EU's sugaragainst these pathogens can and will come from breeding, and beet is grown, as the climate is more suitable. Europes mostwe will continue to search for more robust varieties. competitive producing areas are in northern France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland. Besides sugar beet pro-duction, the continent also has an important refining industry that processes imported raw cane sugar. To learn more aboutThe reduced availability of plant this crop, European Seed spoke with Henning Friehe, Product Manager, of Betaseed Gmbh in Germany, Hendrik Tschoep, R&Dprotection products in combination Director at SESVanderHave in Belgium, Dr. Michael Stange, Head of Product Management Sugar Beet at Strube D&S GmbHwith climate change will lead to in Germany, Mr. Christophe Verlaine, General Director of Kuhn & Co International B.V., in The Netherlands and with Dr. Andreasmore direct and indirect damage Loock, Head of Breeding Sugar Beet, KWS in Germany. caused by insects.BREEDING TARGETSThe breeders of our company are very clear about their selection goals, says Verlaine. First of all, we need as much white sugar yield per hectare as we can get. We select on the key parametersAccording to Loock, more than 350 professionals in breed-which determine the sugar yield: root yield and sugar content.ing and research currently work at KWS for the development Secondly, he says a strong focus on heat and drought stress andof new sugar beet varieties. Their tools are state-of-the-art water use efficiency. The last goal is to be on the lookout formethods, such as cell & tissue culture, marker-assisted selec-diseases: Sclerotium rolfsii, beet cyst nematodes, Rhizoctoniation, genomic prediction, digital phenotyping, bioinformatics. solani and Cercospora beticola. But also a global network of 16 breeding stations and more than Betaseedt targets its markets each in a unique way, says40 trial sites. Our company invests more than 60 million per Friehe. Different environments and growing conditions requireyear in the development of new sugar beet varieties. Such invest-varieties with particular characteristics which, through breed- ment comprises 50 breeding and research projects which cover ing, we aim to strengthen. This approach allows us to offer thea multitude of breeding targets.strongest tailor-made varieties for each market. The biggest challenge however, is to find the right balance between theDIFFERENTIATING USESresistance-level and yield. Stange states that for each target, there is a defined way to test According to Stange, the main targets are yield character- it in the field, in the lab, or in greenhouse. Especially resistance istics, mainly sugar yield and sugar content, and resistances/ and tolerance characteristics can be tested with molecular mark-tolerances against the main pests and disease like Rhizomania,ers whereas yield characteristics must be tested in field trials. 6IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM"