Yield Potential of Sugar Beet - Have We Hit the Ceiling?
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/15915
The yield of sugar beet has continuously increased in the past decades. The question arises, whether this progress will continue in the future. A key factor for increasing yield potential of the crop is breeding progress. It was related to a shift in assimilate partitioning in the plant toward more storage carbohydrates (sucrose), whereas structural carbohydrates (leaves, cell wall compounds) unintendedly declined. The yield potential of sugar beet was estimated at 24 t sugar ha-1. For maximum yield, sufficient growth factors have to be available and the crop has to be able to fully utilize them. In sugar beet, limitations result from the lacking coincidence of maximum irradiation rates and full canopy cover, sink strength for carbon assimilation and high water demand, which cannot be met by rainfall alone. After harvest, sugar losses during storage occur. The paper discusses options for a further increase in yield potential, like autumn sowing of sugar beet, increasing sink strength and related constraints. It is prospected that yield increase by further widening the ratio of storage and structural carbohydrates will come to its natural limit as a certain cell wall stability is necessary. New challenges caused by climate change and by prolonged processing campaigns will occur. Thus breeding for improved pathogen resistance and storage properties will be even more important for successful sugar beet production than a further increase in yield potential itself.