Tag: Rothamsted Research

  • And the beet goes on: Broom’s Barn, Dragons and longevity

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Apologies to the late Sonny Bono for that title. My first main visit of the week was to Broom’s Barn, between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. Although it now carries out a much broader portfolio of activities, and is part of Rothamsted Research, it is embedded (like the British Sugar factory at Wissington (PDF), about which I blogged before), in the sugar beet-growing areas of East Anglia. The sugar beet portfolio focussed on molecular breeding for yield improvement and disease resistance (especially to leaf viruses and to Rhizomania), where a reference beet genome sequence will be invaluable, while other foci included agronomy, drought tolerance and non-invasive methods for plant phenotyping. Although average UK yields of sugar beet are 60-70t/ha, some growers are achieving over 100 t/ha. A two-fold variance of agricultural yields is not atypical, and suggests that there is indeed considerable room for improvement, not least in terms of sugar content (which is still under 20% w/v). […]