Researchers and laboratories focus on developing the quality of the beet seed.
Safe establishment in the field of sugar beet is very important for a profitable harvest. That is why MariboHilleshög has a team of researchers and laboratories that focus on the quality of the beet seed.
– Compared to other arable crops, the process of producing high-quality beet seed is far more complicated and requires a great deal of knowledge both technically and biologically, explains Morten Jørsboe, Head of Seed Tech at Holeby.
The seeds are X-rayed
After cleaning and grinding in the seed factory, the beet seed is sorted so that only the very best seed goes on in the process.
Using advanced X-ray technology to look into the seed ensures that the seed contains a fully developed germ, which provides the best germination in the field.
X-rays of beet seeds. Only seeds with fully developed germ on the left are used; the rest of the seeds with various defects to the right are discarded.
The seed pellet
The next step in the process is pelleting.
Morten Jørsboe: – In addition to making the seed suitable for precision sowing, the pellet offers a unique opportunity to control the micro-environment in which the germinating germ grows. After many systematic attempts at MariboHilleshög we succeeded in finding precisely the components of the pellet that ensure the best germination.
The result is a two-layer pellet that simultaneously ensures the optimal absorption of water under both dry and humid conditions.
Coating protects the plant
Eventually, the beet seeds are coated with plant protection products, both insecticides and fungicides, to provide good protection in the field during the first months after sowing. However, in recent times there have been a number of restrictions on the plant protection products available.
– In particular, withdrawal of the fungicide thiram has posed challenges, as thiram has for decades provided good broad-spectrum protection at an affordable price. The fungicide Vibrance SB is now used as an alternative for beet seed. But in the longer term, it is possible that fewer and fewer plant protection products will be available, Morten Jørsboe notes.
New methods ensure healthy seeds
Therefore, MariboHilleshög is in the process of finding new effective methods to disinfect the beet seed, so that healthy seeds will also be delivered to growers with less use of fungicides in the future.
– At the same time, we are constantly working to breed new tolerances into the beets. This will also allow the crop to be successfully grown using fewer plant protection products, the Head of Seed Tech points out.
Published 28 April 2020