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Sugar Beet Being Trialed in South Australia

20 November 2012

AUSTRALIA - Dryland cropping in South Australia is no longer limited to winter. It's not uncommon to see paddocks of sorghum, safflower or even sunflowers throughout the summer months. However, there could be a new summer crop option on the horizon - sugar beet.

Andrew Etherton from Pacific Seeds says he's just finished sowing several trials of the European crop, sugar beet, reports ABC Rural.

He says so far, it's showing a lot of potential.

"The biggest benefit we've found is it's resistance to the diamond back moth in comparison to other brassica crops.

"We're unsure why but there seems to be some sort of chemical in the plant and the insects don't eat them and move on to other crops."

He says the predominant use of sugar beet in South Australia would be for fodder.

"There's two parts of the plant, there's the top which could be grazed or put into silage and also the bulbs.

"But looking big picture, certainly carbon trading because of its potential to produce ethanol.

"We think there could be some carbon trading or offset under the carbon tax scheme."

TheCropSite News Desk

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