Sugarbeet variety selection is no easy task when it comes to selecting varieties that are a good match for individual field conditions.
Genetics of every variety are different and each entails its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Certainly high yield and quality are important components in variety selection, but so too are other factors including disease and pest resistance. Help in sorting this all out can come from the 2013 Michigan Sugarbeet REACh Variety Trial Results book. This is the best source of complete and unbiased information available.
The research information includes Michigan Sugar Company's official variety trials and plant to stand trials, as well as Michigan State University Extension Sugarbeet Advancement field trials. Official variety trials are well-managed, small plot research trials that test varieties for genetic potential in yield and quality. Usually these trials have minimal disease or environmental issues that may negatively impact yield and quality. New varieties are tested and approved this way.
The Sugarbeet Advancement trials are conducted in grower's fields utilizing their equipment and management. Only approved varieties are used here. These trials are not always conducted under ideal conditions as some disease and environmental stress may develop. Using information from both sources is very helpful in determining variety reliability and field performance.
The research book also contains results of nursery trial data. In the disease nursery trials, varieties are tested for resistance to Cercospora, Rhizoctonia, Aphanomyces and Rhizomania. Results indicate varieties vary greatly in disease resistance. This is very helpful in matching variety resistance to past field disease issues. Insect trial nurseries are also conducted and evaluated for nematode and root aphid resistance. Both of these pests can be devastating in a given field or under certain environmental conditions. In 2013, one Sugarbeet Advancement trial with sugarbeet cyst nematodes had a gross revenue difference of $498 per acre between a nematode-tolerant variety and susceptible.
The complete research results can be found on the Michigan Sugar website at www.msue.msu.edu.