Mitigating drought impact through variety improvement.
Drought is one of the main constraints in sugar beet cultivation. Empirical studies and model simulations demonstrated yield reductions up to 40%, resulting in a significant financial impact on the beet sugar industry. The impact of water shortage is expected to aggravate in the future, as the frequency and intensity of drought spells are expected to increase with climate change. Therefore, yield stability under water-deficit conditions is becoming a crucial trait in sugar beet breeding. By combining continuous environmental and satellite data we aim to classify sugar beet growing environments along different drought intensities. Based on these classifications, genetic diversity in drought tolerance across multi-location trial networks can be assessed. Furthermore, we discuss the possibilities and the approach that we employ for further variety improvement for drought tolerance.