Transplanted Sugarbeets . . . -- “Nobody had to worry about whether 30 rows of sugarbeets would come up at the University of Idaho’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center this spring. They were already up when they were transplanted into the ground.
“The transplanted sugarbeets, developed by David Allen, a progressive Nampa-area beet grower, are being tested this year at the UI’s College of Agriculture Research and Extension Center at Kimberly against a direct-seeded crop planted alongside them.
“ ‘I believe this is the way of the future, and if you’re going to do this, the university has to have the data,’ said Allen.
“Last year, Allen transplanted about 200 acres of sugarbeets and compared them with 60 acres of beets he planted in the standard way. He figured that the transplants would pay for their additional $75-an-acre cost if they yielded an extra 4 tons per acre. What he got was twice that much — 36 tons per acre for the transplants compared with 28.8 tons for the direct-seeded beets.
“Allen said the Japanese, who pioneered transplanted sugarbeets 20 years ago, have more than doubled their yields with the technique and that 95 percent of that country’s sugarbeets are now being transplanted. UI College of Agriculture staff transplanted beets in Canyon County test plots for three years during the late 1960s, but the technique, ahead of its time, was not adopted.
“According to John Gallian, UI College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service sugarbeet specialist at Twin Falls, growers have shown considerable interest in transplanted sugarbeets since Allen first demonstrated the process last year . . .
“The beets Allen and Gallian transplanted onto the Kimberly R&D Center April 23 were sown in Allen’s Nampa greenhouse February 28 and March 15. The seed was planted into soil-filled paper tubes about ½-inch wide and 5-½ inches long. After the beets emerged, they were ‘hardened’ by canvas dragged across them The temperature in the greenhouse was gradually lowered, increasing the beets’ resistance to frost damage.”
Breeders Study Plant Chemicals -- “Examining the amount of chemicals that individual plants produce to defend themselves against fungus diseases might provide plant breeders with a mechanism to increase disease resistance.
“An interdisciplinary team of scientists has been closely following the nature of Cercospora leaf spot disease in sugarbeets. The team has observed two toxins that the Cercospora fungus produces when it infects beets. In addition, the team has observed the phytoalexins that beets produce to protect themselves against infections. . . .
“ ‘Perhaps one way to increase disease resistance would be to measure the number and amount of these phytoalexins, or “warding off” compounds, and incorporate them into commercially valuable varieties,’ says Susan S. Martin, plant physiologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, Colo.
“In previous research, Martin discovered that the Cercospora leaf spot fungus remains in intercellular areas of beet leaves rather than actually entering individual cells. For many years before Martin examined the fungus with an electron microscope, scientists had believed that the Cercospora fungus, like most other fungi, actually entered individual cells to create the characteristic leaf spots.”
Outlook for World Sugar Market Called ‘thoroughly depressing’ — “The outlook for the world sugar market is ‘thoroughly depressing’ and will remain so until the large stocks overhanging the market are reduced, according to London sugar analyst Simon Harris.
“Speaking at the second European Agricultural Outlook Conference in London, Harris said the stocks overhang will exist for several years if a new International Sugar Agreement cannot be successfully negotiated. He said attainment of a new agreement is still some distance away.
“He said the current market situation, with world prices considered below production costs, has to be improved before a new agreement can be launched. The main hindrance is the current high level of world stocks. The latest estimate for 1982-83 world stocks is 38 million tons or 41 percent of consumption, against an optimum level of 25 percent.”
Doney Theory Holds Promise -- “Progress in the development of new, superior sugarbeet varieties could be dramatically accelerated if a new theory now being tested by U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers holds true.
“The new theory proposes that genetic differences can be magnified for swifter, easier selection if stress, related to vigor not resistance, is imposed on an organism. Devon L. Doney, a plant geneticist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Logan, (Utah) conceived this theory. . . .
“If his theory holds up, Doney believes that past progress made over a period of 10 to 15 years could, in the future, be realized in only 5 to 7 years. He emphasizes that the theory applies only to plant vigor.”