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Applying a biostimulant to sugar beet crops could help plants cope with heat stress caused by climate change. Biostimulant benefits stressed beet crops

Applying a biostimulant to sugar beet crops could help plants cope with heat stress caused by climate change.

Field trials over the last two seasons have shown that applying Quantis to sugar beet before a heat stress event increases yield significantly, says Syngenta technical manager Andy Cunningham.

The effect of Quantis to help potato plants deal with stress caused by high temperatures has been scientifically studied and widely tested, he says. Yield responses have been equally good – if not better – when tried on a field scale in sugar beet.

Larger root size

Biostimulant action within the plant results in bigger roots and higher sugar concentration – even when no physiological differences can be seen in the crop, adds Mr Cunningham.

Research at Nottingham University suggests potato plants can be primed to cope with heat stress and to maintain photosynthetic activity that would otherwise be reduced or shut down.

“Further trials are planned this season in sugar beet to pinpoint the optimum times for application around the occurrence of heat events,” says Mr Cunningham.

“Timing will be based on the heat stress event forecasting tool developed to assist potato growers.”

Lincolnshire beet grower Richard Ivatt was impressed with results from field scale trials of Quantis on drought-prone light land last season.

A single 1 litre/ha application on 12 July 2021 – just before a dry period – yielded an extra 1.78t/ha. Doubling that rate saw the crop yield 78t/ha – some 3.64t/ha more than the untreated crop.

“With the increased value of sugar beet this season, there’s potential for an even greater payback,” says Mr Ivatt, who grows 160ha of beet across 680ha of arable cropping at Baston Fen, near Bourne.

All beet growing on lighter land this season will now receive a 2litre/ha application if there is impending risk of hot weather stress.

Crops on prime silts and heavier land will be treated where there is a risk of drought, says Mr Ivatt.