04. Field Trials

SESVanderHave tests the adaptations of these materials, now called hybrid lines, to different conditions with field trials across sugarbeet 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 yield plots in every U.S. sugarbeet market so that varieties ensure local adaptation. In cooperation with experienced local farmers, experimental hybrids are tested along with the best approved varieties to confirm whether new lines perform better than the ‘check’ varieties.

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


At the end of the growing season, SESVanderHave 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 farmers would receive. After statistical analysis, a decision is made on which hybrids continue for further research.

Check one, two

With multiple years of data, SESVanderHave then enters elite lines into official industry trials organized by each local sugar industry. 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 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 male/female combinations, to the final approval in OVTs, new varieties are finally ready for local growers.