Sugar beet cooperatives across the United States run trials to approve varieties for production by their growers. These trials are used to identify varieties that meet certain standards. These standards include; yield, sugar content, and disease resistance traits. Each growing area has its own rules and requirements that seed companies need to achieve for varieties to be approved for sale. Most Sugar Cooperatives including the Western Sugar Cooperative, have an official variety trial tour where cooperative personnel and Seed Company representatives tour the trial locations. Trial locations are used for variety approval, and the tour gives seed companies a feel of how their varieties are performing in a growing area. Variety tours provide an excellent opportunity to meet with sugar cooperative and seed company representatives.
Western Sugar Cooperative Varietry Trials Kick Off July 18th
Western Sugar Cooperative Variety Trial Tour for 2016 begins on July 18 and takes a full week to complete. Western Sugar covers four large states; Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. This variety trial tour is a giant road rally. Anywhere from 12-15 variety trial locations are scattered among the four states. In addition to seeing variety trials of Western Sugar, time is made to tour Agriculture Research Stations who are also providing sugar beet research for sugar cooperatives. Wyoming Sugar Cooperative is also part of the tour with a stop in Worland, Wyoming to observe trials.
Diseases that Impact Sugar Beet Production
Fusarium is a disease that often occurs in Western Sugar growing regions. Two variety trial locations are solely for Fusarium pressure on Sugar Beets. One is located in Hardin, MT and another is in Sterling, CO. Aphanomyces, root aphid, and Rhizoctonia resistance is also a requirement in the Western growing regions.
The Western Sugar Cooperative Variety Trial Tour is a fantastic opportunity to meet with industry representatives. The distance covered makes this tour the most challenging variety tour in the US. The relationships created and maintained by these tours make the trip worth it.