Submitted to: Annual Beet Sugar Development Foundation Research Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Sugar beet growers in Michigan and the Great Lakes region face a unique set of disease and abiotic stresses that in combination are not experienced on a regular basis in other sugar beet growing areas. Some of these stresses include a seedling disease caused by the fungus Aphanomyces cochlioides, a root rot disease caused by Rhizoctonia solani, a leaf spot disease caused by Cercospora beticola, and a suite of weather-related stresses that includes problems obtaining adequate stands of sugar beets in some years. The breeding program at East Lansing is geared towards releasing improved germplasm with tolerance or resistance to these stresses. In addition, breeding for improved quality and yield of sugar is continuing along with breeding for smooth root characteristics. Smoother roots lessen the amount of adhered soil on harvested beets and avoids the associated problems of transport, processing and disposal of unwanted and potentially infested soils. The impact of the East Lansing breeding program has been and will continue to be based on releases of improved germplasm to the United States sugar beet industry, as well as knowledge directly useful to the industry related to measurement and selection of better varieties for the growing region. Additional impact will come in the future in the form of improved understanding of the number, action, identity, and location of genes controlling agronomic and economic traits and their application in integrated breeding.