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05. Seed production

The seed propagation begins during the field trial research to reduce the time between initial research and availability to growers. In this step of the process we start to produce our seeds on a large scale for commercialisation.

Step 1: Stecklings

To start, seed is planted in sandy soils in August. After a few months of growth, this small root is known as a steckling.

Step 2: Vernalisation

Sugar beets are a biennial crop, meaning it needs 2 seasons to complete its life cycle and produce seed. To trigger flowering, the plant needs a cold period known as vernalisation.

Step 3: Selection

Once vernalised, the stecklings are transplanted by hand in seed production fields where the chosen males and females are combined to produce hybrids. This takes place mainly in Southern France, Northern Italy, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the US.

Step 4: Pollination

The difficulty of seed production lies in the flowering time of the male and female plants. Early flowering lines are clipped so they flower at the same time and the males pollinate the females.

Step 5: Harvest

Fields are closely supervised for fertility, irrigation and pest management. Afterwards, the seeds of the female plants are harvested.