ISSUE #516

516 - Variety Approval Policy

10-30-08

AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR COMPANY'S VARIETY APPROVAL POLICY has been established to attempt to provide a list of approved varieties that maximize your on-farm profit. Changes to approval standards are implemented as necessary to meet new challenges confronting the industry.

Agronomic Challenges the Seed Policy Has Helped Address in the Last 10 Years Include:

  • Need for higher revenue per acre
  • Cercospora epidemic of 1998
  • Rhizomania threat to the industry
  • Field abandonment due to Aphanomyces
  • Development of Fusarium threat
  • Rhizoctonia severity increase
  • Steady improvement in crop quality
  • Root disease storage threat

516

Seed Company Feedback

Each January plant breeders and other seed Company representatives are given the opportunity to express concerns about the variety approval process. Seed committee members, the American Crystal Sugar Company Board Ag Committee and other Board members discuss feedback. Appropriate policy and coded variety trial procedure changes then are made when they can be justified.

Variety Approval Policy Changes Since 2000

  • Seed Committee meets each January with American Crystal Sugar Company Ag Committee and seed companies. This provides an opportunity to exchange ideas and feedback to improve official coded variety trials and the variety approval process
  • Official trials planted to stand with larger plot sizes to improve data reliability (2000)
  • Official trial plots turned perpendicular to grower field operations to minimize impact of fertilizer overlap and equipment compaction (2000)
  • Official trial herbicide spraying conducted by American Crystal Sugar Company staff (not driving in the plots) to minimize wheel tracks through the plots (2000)
  • Rhizomania specialty varieties approval added 2000, first varieties approved in 2001
  • Rhizomania specialty varieties tested in Rhizomania fields (2002)
  • Cercospora rating disapproval changed from 5.2 to 5.4 (2002)
  • Varieties allowed continued sales following disapproval if testing is continued, unless disapproved for disease susceptibility (2003)
  • Aphanomyces root ratings used for approval instead of foliar ratings (2003)
  • Aphanomyces specialty variety approval level of 4.9 and disapproval of 5.2 (2003)
  • All varieties evaluated for Aphanomyces (2004)
  • Fusarium nursery in RRV established (2005)
  • Established benchmark set of commercial varieties for approval criteria in 2006 to provide more stable approval targets to seed companies (instead of mean of all approved varieties)
  • Approval criteria providing access to 97/202 higher revenue varieties (2006)
  • Aphanomyces nursery in RRV established (2007)
  • Rhizoctonia nurseries in RRV established (2007)
  • Additional Cercospora nurseries for RR® varieties expanded to Michigan (2007)
  • Cercospora nurseries attempted in RRV (2008)
  • Second year (and beyond) Roundup Ready® varieties required to be entered into Fusarium and Rhizoctonia nurseries (2008)
  • Additional official trial locations planted

What the Variety Approval Policy Does Not Do

  • Ensure exact seed sizing and grading
  • Guarantee emergence under field stress conditions
  • Evaluate seed for accuracy of seed treatment application e.g. Tachigaren, Poncho-B, X-Beet or others
  • Set standards for seed processing and plantability
  • Dictate seed packaging and labeling requirements for seed companies

What Standards Do Seed Companies Meet?

  • State Seed Department germination and labeling requirements
  • EPA pesticide regulations
  • State Department of Ag standards
  • Contracting with state licensed and approved seed conditioning companies
  • Each seed company sets internal standards it meets for seed processing

It's the grower's responsibility to select seed from vendors that fit their specific demands for plantability, disease control and other requirements.