Stacking the deck against Cercospora Leaf Spot.
Cercospora leaf spot (CLS) of sugar beet caused by the fungus Cercospora beticola Sacc. is a disease of economic importance across most the North American sugar beet production acreage. The integrated disease management strategy in many markets is the use of fungicides combined with highly genetically tolerant hybrids. While historically there has been an inverse relationship between genetic tolerance to CLS and yield performance in the absence of the disease, new CR+®TM hybrids provide statistically significant advancements (LSD 0.05% as determined either by Official Variety Trial and/or proprietary data). CR+®TM hybrids are composed from traditional multi-genic quantitative resistance sources that exceed CLS approval criteria stacked with newly identified sources of resistance. Breeding gains include significantly greater CLS tolerance based on the KWS 1-9 rating scale, without performance loss in the absence of CLS and provide a substantial performance advantage in terms of sugar per acre under conditions favorable for severe CLS. The benefit of the novel CR+®TM hybrids is due to the balanced composition of different sources of CLS protection combined with traits such as rhizomania, nematode, curly top, root disease and herbicide tolerance that maintain high yield and sugar content under many different environmental situations. The goal of KWS is to further advance sugarbeet as a competitive and sustainable crop and to deliver new innovative solutions for the continued improvement of CLS tolerance in robust and well adapted hybrids.