The sugarbeet industry expanded dramatically in the UK in the 1920s to make Britain more self-sufficient in sugar production after severe shortages in World War 1 and after it lost most of its sugar-producing colonies. Until the introduction of new fungicides in the 1990s, UK sugarbeet growers relied on sulfur sprays for controlling diseases. The new fungicides provide better disease control and have a direct physiological effect on the plants which leads to higher yields. Refining the spray schedule with these new fungicides has resulted in the highest sugarbeet yields ever in the UK.
“In 2011, the UK sugar industry celebrated its highest ever national yield of 75.6 t/ha. A number of factors contributed to this excellent achievement, but a major contributor was the widespread and appropriate use of fungicide spray regimes across the vast majority of the sugar beet crop. These products control diseases including powdery mildew and rust, but also provide physiological benefits such as green leaf retention and early frost protection.”
Authors: Stevens, M., and E. Burks.
Affiliation: Rothamsted Research-Broom’s Barn
Title: Fungicide strategies for maximizing yield potential: lessons from 2011.
Source: British Sugar Beet Review. Summer, 2012. 80:10-13.