A French network in a problem-solving approach
Sugar beet production in western Europe is under threat because of the damages due to the impact of viruses that are transmitted by peach aphids. Since 1993, this threat has been under control by the use of neonicotinoids in seed treatments. Due to French regulations, this pesticide has been withdrawn from all crops since 2018. In absence of protection, major yield losses were observed in 2020 (-27.4%) due to early aphid arrivals. A derogative regime for sugar beet was set, that went to an end after the decision of the European Commission Justice Court in January 2023. In order to identify levers and combinations of levers to reduce the damages due to aphids and viruses, a large on-farm experiment network has been established across all the French sugar beet production since 2021. The levers under test are companion crops, flower strips to promote biological regulations, biocontrol, and aphid predators (eggs and larvae). New tolerant/resistant hybrids are also under test. This on-farm experiment is also adapted to show the options to farmers and to discuss these options. To learn more about this initiative, you may follow this link (website in French).