The strategies for the future direction of agriculture in the EU and in Germany increasingly focus on climate and environmental protection. Catch crop cultivation may play a role in protecting soil, climate, water, and biodiversity. Data from a farm survey on sugar beet production in Germany between 2010 and 2019 were evaluated regarding the development of catch crop cultivation in connection with other production factors. The question was whether the cultivation of catch crops would support the intended environmental goals. It was investigated whether (1) fewer herbicides were used and (2) less nitrogen fertilizer was applied on fields with catch crops in comparison to fields without catch crops. The proportion of fields with catch crops before sugar beets has risen since greening was introduced as part of the EU’s common agricultural policy. Pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer applications were higher on fields with catch crops than on fields without. As these are results from a survey, it remains open why the use of herbicides and fertilizer in sugar beet cultivation is higher with than without catch crops. However, the results show that an increase in catch crop cultivation does not automatically have positive effects on the environment and climate. Sugar beet cultivation in practice should be further optimized in a targeted manner, so that greater benefits regarding environmental protection can be realized.
Christa M. Hoffmann; Gunnar Kleuker; André Wauters; William English; Martijn Leijdekkers
There is some evidence that sugar beet root tissue strength affects damage susceptibility and storage losses. This study aimed at analyzing the effect of N application and of irrigation on tissue strength of sugar beet varieties, on root composition, and on root tip breakage and storage losses. For this purpose, field trials in six replicates with three sugar beet varieties were carried out with three N doses in The Netherlands and Belgium in 2018 and 2019, alternatively with three irrigation treatments in Sweden in 2018 and 2019. Results show a low impact of N application and irrigation on puncture resistance, tissue firmness and compressive strength of the roots, while varieties differed always stronger and significantly. Cell wall composition (pectin, hemicellulose, cellulose, lignin) did not differ markedly in roots from different environments (sites, years) and varieties, giving no explanation for differences in tissue strength. However, the percentage of cell wall material (AIR, marc) and of dry matter were higher in roots with higher tissue strength. Root tip breakage and sugar losses during storage tended to be lower when root compressive strength of varieties was higher. Hence, root tissue strength could serve as an indirect selection criterion for reduced damage susceptibility and improved storability of sugar beet varieties.
Virus yellows in sugar beet is caused by different virus species. Monitoring has shown that Beet yellows virus (BYV), Beet mild yellowing virus (BMYV), Beet chlorosis virus (BChV) are common and widespread, while Beet mosaic virus (BtMV) is less prevalent. The green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) is considered the main vector of these viruses. Sugar beet varieties with resistance or tolerance traits are currently not available to practical growers, therefore it is imperative to support breeding efforts with improved strategies to achieve virus resistance. For this purpose, a field test was established in which yield differences between susceptible and tolerant varieties can be generated by a 3% inoculation with BMYV-carrying aphids. A greenhouse bioassay has also been developed to distinguish susceptible and tolerant genotypes following BYV infection. Both assays pave the way for future use of natural resources such as wild forms and other breeding material to screen for virus resistance. In addition, molecular biology approaches are used to identify plant susceptibility factors of the plant-virus interaction, which will be knocked out via modern precision breeding methods to generate recessive virus resistance. Consequently, genotypes with naturally occurring mutations in the appropriate factors can be used for crossbreeding processes into elite breeding material.
Harald Schindler; Volker Hoffmann; Manfred Hermanns
Due to international agreements, there is a requirement to reduce ammonia emissions in sugar factories and to comply with the specified limit values. After looking at the sources of ammonia emissions in sugar factories, various ways of reducing these emissions are shown. In the case of the exhaust gases of the carbonation, in addition to reducing emissions, there is also the option of extracting heat from the exhaust gases and using it for technological purposes, which reduces energy consumption overall.