Seed Selection Critical to Top Production
February 13, 2019 | View PDF
“Growers can control a lot of epigenetic factors but seed quality is the basis of efficient crop production.” -Kathryn Cayko
Developing new varieties of sugarbeet seed is a lengthy process involving seed companies, nurseries, Sidney Sugars Incorporated (SSI) and Ag Terra Technologies. Seed needs to fit this market, showing high sugars and tonnage as well as disease resistance. SSI submits the seed they want tested to Ag Terra which organizes the seed for testing, determining its viability and randomizing the seed for coded trials. Certain varieties also go to NDSU for cercospora and fusarium resistance testing.
Testing takes up to three years before seed is given full approval. However, if a seed is showing to be exceptional, some may be given to growers in just two years. “It’s a very good program and Alan Telck at Ag Terra is good to work with. We can look at varieties in May,” commented Cayko.
Sidney Sugars performs coded test trials in the Sidney, Savage and Fairview growing areas. The Eastern Ag Research Center in Sidney also conducts strip trials on the same seeds. “It’s exciting to see those test strips out there,” Cayko said.
All the 2018 test varieties performed well for sugar content. However, there was a lot of difference in tonnage, with two really high producing varieties.
Different varieties work better in different area and what shows most promising in the nursery trials isn’t necessarily what works locally. The number one nursery test trial seed came in 7th while their number 2 seed placed 6th in the SSI growing area. There can also be vast differences in disease control with certain varieties, with some higher (bad) ratings seen with fusarium or cercospora in some fields.
“That’s why it’s so important that we get seed information from growers in real time,” Cayko explained.