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04. Field trials

SESVanderHave tests the adaptations of these materials, now called hybrids, to different conditions with field trials across the main sugar beet growing areas over multiple years. These field trials are a critical step in the research process where we confidently decide the best hybrids to keep.

Thousands of field trials

SESVanderHave has thousands of field trials around the world – from the United States to Russia – where the seed can be tested under the local production conditions. In cooperation with experienced local growers, experimental hybrids are tested along with the best approved varieties to confirm whether these new varieties perform better than the ‘check’ varieties.

During the growing season, SESVanderHave's field experts monitor the different plots for emergence, pests and disease tolerance, bolting tolerance, and other plant characteristics.

Harvest

At the end of the growing season, SESVanderHave’s research staff harvest the field trials with specially- designed research harvesters to measure each variety for root yield. Sugar concentration and purity are also analysed to calculate sugar yield and the economic payments that growers would receive. After statistical analysis at the SVIC a decision is made on which hybrids continue for further research.

With multiple years of data, SESVanderHave then enters the best hybrids into official variety trials, sugar beet institutes trials and industry trials organized by each local authority. These “Official Variety Trials”, or OVTs, test new entries from every seed company against proven ‘check’ varieties in numerous locations against the trait standards of that market.

Varieties are often tested in OVTs for two or three years or more to demonstrate the stability of new entries, and surpass any sugar quality and disease requirements of that local market. Only a limited number of varieties entered will make it to the official approval list that growers can choose from.

So after years of development to quantify the traits, yield, quality and stability of the thousands of possible experimental hybrids, to the final approval in OVTs, new varieties are finally ready for commercialisation.