The sugarbeet curly top virus could meet its match in new sugarbeet varieties derived from KDH13, a germplasm breeding line developed by USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers for resistance to the disease-causing pathogen.
Transmitted by small insects called beet leafhoppers, the curly top virus courses through the phloem of susceptible beet plants, wreaking cellular havoc that can manifest as yellow, inwardly curled leaves; stunted growth; and other telltale symptoms. Severe outbreaks of curly top disease can reduce sugarbeet yields by 30% or more.
Spraying insecticides can prevent leafhoppers from transmitting the virus to plants while feeding; but the preferred approach is to plant sugar-beet varieties that naturally resist the pathogen, notes Imad Eujayl, a molecular biologist with ARS’s Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Lab at Kimberly, Idaho.
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Luther Markwart focused on “take home” messages in his summary remarks toward the conclusion of this year’s American Sugarbeet Growers Association annual meeting. “What do we tell our growers? What do we do as leaders of this industry?” ASGA’s longtime executive vice president asked the local and regional grower association leaders in attendance.
Idaho USDA-ARS Research Aids in Work to Rein in Rhizomania, Curly Top
By Ann Perry*
The whole point of growing sugarbeets is to produce sugar. But once the beets are harvested and stored for processing, they slowly start to decay, which lowers their sucrose levels.
Editor & General Manager of The Sugarbeet Grower