KWS-UK has entered into official UK trials two sugar beet varieties with a natural tolerance to a Bayer herbicide that cannot otherwise be used in the crop. The companies claim that the new varieties could be commercially available for the 2019-20 season, subject to regulatory approval for both the beet varieties and the herbicide.
The new sugar beet varieties have a natural tolerance to acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor class herbicides. Plants carrying this variation are tolerant to a specific ALS-inhibiting herbicide developed by Bayer. KWS bred the varieties using standard breeding techniques, with no genetic modification. The new technology will be branded Conviso Smart – Conviso is a Bayer trademark.
Simon Witheford, sugar beet product manager at KWS, says: “Conviso sugar beet is an exciting development in sugar beet production and will enable growers to control a wide range of weeds, including many otherwise hard to tackle species, with greater ease and without risking crop safety or yield potential.
“It is the result of many years of research and development that will benefit growers in much the same way as previous advances, such as rhizomania and nematode resistance. It is exciting that we can provide a non-GMO solution to weed control in sugar beet.”
Edward Hagues, Bayer root crop product manager, adds: “The herbicide has performed exceptionally in trials demonstrating reliable control of a wide range of broadleaved and grass weeds, and effective control of weed beet populations.”
“In addition, the new herbicide offers greater flexibility in application timing compared with standard herbicides and requires fewer passes to achieve control.”