12th September 2022

New sugar beet varieties offer opportunity

All three varieties are bred by Betaseed GmBH, the European arm of the most successful sugar beet breeder in the US, for whom Limagrain is the marketing agent in the UK.

Limagrain UK sugar beet consultant Bram van der Have believes that these three varieties provide growers with a choice of top yielding varieties whilst offering a range of agronomic characteristics to suit specific on-farm and market situations.

“During these times when growers are being encouraged to push for the highest yields to dilute costs of production, it is important to choose varieties that will not only produce these top yields but also offer sound agronomics to allow the crop to get off to a good start as 70% of the crop’€™s potential is decided at drilling, so by choosing the right variety and getting drilling conditions right, there’€™s no reason why sugar beet shouldn’€™t remain a mainstay in the cropping programme of many farms in East Anglia.”

Betaseed has designed innovative branding to help growers to identify the right variety for specific farm or market requirements. These symbols will be present on the packaging of the new varieties coming to market for sowing in spring 2016.

  • A BAG OF SUGAR represents a variety with TOP YIELD AND HIGH SUGAR CONTENT – to maximise financial returns.
  • A WEIGHT represents a variety that offers TOP ROOT YIELD to achieve top financial returns.
  • ARMOUR  reflects a variety that is BCN TOLERANT to protect your beet crop against Beet Cyst Nematodes.


The newly recommended Limagrain offering BTS 470 features top line performance for yield and sugar content offering very high adjusted tonnes yield at 105% of controls, positioning it at the top of the Recommended List in this category. The variety also offers consistently high sugar content,   at 18.2% which puts it as one of the highest in this category on the Recommend List.

BTS 470 is Rhizomania resistant and also offers valuable agronomic characteristics demonstrated by its good establishment producing a good plant population even in challenging situations. The variety is one of the lowest bolters on the RL when sown at normal.

Mr Van der Have adds that the variety has very good resistance for rust and powdery mildew, and will be welcomed by growers looking to spread the spraying workload among more susceptible varieties and those who like to lift later in the season.

“The very high sugar content of BTS 470 is likely to appeal to the sugar processor and a very high adjusted tonnage variety which should make it equally attractive to the professional sugar beet grower,”€ he says.

The second variety to be offered from Limagrain UK which is newly inscribed to the 2016 Recommended List is BTS 340. BTS 340 is a good all-rounder variety offering excellent yield potential and is Rhizomina resistant. “€œAdd to this its solid all- round agronomics and you have a variety that will suit most situations and needs,”€ says Mr van der Have.

As one of the highest yielders on the list, BTS 340 offers a relative adjusted tonnes yield of 103.7%, and a sugar content of 17.92. These yields are backed up by a sound agronomic package; BTS 340 has one of the lowest bolting tendencies when sown at a normal time, however the flexibility of the variety to meet a range of situations is demonstrated by its ability to maintain this lower bolting tendency which allows for it to be sown anytime from reasonably early in March to the end of April.

There are not many situations where BTS340 will not fit, says Mr Van der Have, as he points out that it is also ideal for the early lifting period.

The third newly listed variety offered by Limagrain is BTS 755, which is a very exciting variety for UK sugar beet growers as it is the highest yielding variety on the 2016 BBRO Descriptive List to offer Beet Cyst Nematode tolerance, and combined with its Rhizomania resistance and sound agronomic package is likely to be prized by those with land confirmed with, or suspected of being infected with BCN, with no compromise to performance.

In official trials the variety has demonstrated its ability to produce in fields without BCN infestation yields of relative adjusted tonnes of 103.0% which is equivalent to the top yielders on the 2015 BBRO Recommended List.  “In other words,  growers with a BCN problem no longer have to pay a yield penalty.”

BTS 755 demonstrates the benefits of a breeding programme that has focussed on developing this resistance without a compromise to yield. We know from data collected in continental Europe that in cases of heavy BCN infestation, that resistant varieties can give yield benefits of up to 30% compared to non BCN resistant varieties and this is what we are seeing with BTS 755.”

This is a high sugar content variety that can be sown with confidence notes Mr van der Have, as it is a fast emerger that produces a high final plant population, with a very erect leaf canopy, BTS 755 can be sown from late-March until late April.  The variety also offers a good yellow rust and powdery mildew resistance rating, so performs agronomically as well as producing an outstanding yield performance.

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