A trial was planted in September 2016 on a dairy farm 12 km east of Cambridge, on volcanic ash soil, comparing 11 cultivars of fodder beet and one sugar beet. Seed was drilled at 80,000 seeds/ha.
The trial was harvested on 6 July 2017. There were significant differences in yield between some of the cultivars. The mean yield of the trial was 23.7 t DM/ha, with a leaf to bulb ratio of 9:91. The low ratio of leaf (tops) was due to leaf disease over autumn that had cause premature death of leaves (see photo below). Bulb dry matter percentage was 4.9 percentage points below the long-term national average.
The site was affected by the bulb rot disease rhizoctonia solani, which caused an average loss of 18,000 plants/ha from the seeds sown (22%) across the trial. There was no difference in plant loss between any of the cultivars.