Black leaf spot disease will hurt sugar beet yields in France, warns Le Betteravie
London — Cercospora, the black leaf spot disease that affects sugar beet, is “particularly strong this year,” French agricultural newspaper Le Betteravier reported Thursday.
European sugar beet production is already forecast to be around 2 million mt lower during the current 2018-19 campaign due to poor yields as a result of the summer’s hot and dry weather, with France’s agriculture ministry cutting its sugar beet production estimates for the 2018-2019 campaign this week, down 1.6% from last month’s estimate to 40.4 million mt.
This is down 13% on the year from 46.3 million mt produced last year.
As the impact of cercospora is added to the equation, sugar beet yields could be revised down further, potentially providing further support to domestic EU sugar prices and leaving even less sugar available for export.
French research institute ITB’s president Alexandre Quillet said that it is “everywhere, even in Normandy,” Le Betteravier reported. “Cool and humid weather conditions in the morning and then hot in the afternoon” are ideal conditions to encourage cercospora.
Temperatures in France averaged 16.2 degrees Celsius in September, 0.6 C higher than average for the month, ITB said in its September monthly report released earlier this week.
It was the sixth consecutive month of above-average temperatures, with another month of hot and dry weather, until the cold snap in the last week of September that resulted in the first frosts. There was a rainfall deficit in France for the fourth straight month; 30 millimeters fell in September, 29 mm or 49% below average, ITB said.
Le Betteravier described the current campaign as “decidedly difficult” for farmers.