Under the Federal Science and Technology Program (FNTP), Russian breeders are developing new competitive sugar beet hybrids. The program is attended by the SoyuzSemSvekla company, which united specialists from Shchelkovo Agrokhim and RusAgro, as well as scientific institutions of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia. By 2025, more than 40 new hybrids will be created, Shchelkovo Agrokhim reported.
13 new hybrids of sugar beet have already been created, they are registered in the state register; by the end of 2021, another 18-20 hybrids will be submitted for registration (they are currently being tested). All of them are created on the principle of low sensitivity to root rot, drought and the most common sugar beet disease - cercospora, - said the general director of Shchelkovo Agrokhim, Salis Karakotov.
He specified that the new hybrids are 10 times more resistant to root rot than foreign ones. “They have a certain set of genes that form resistance to the action of pathogenic pathogens: fungi and bacteria. If the percentage of rotten root crops per hectare among “foreigners” was 10% and more this year, then ours had an indicator of 0,8%, ”said Karakotov.
The harvest of new hybrids of Russian sugar beet will also be more uniform in fruit size. In addition, the new plant "Shchelkovo Agrokhim" will allow for pelleting seeds (as foreign producers do) - pre-sowing treatment with special solutions that form a hard shell of seeds, so that they can be sown individually, and not in bulk, which significantly reduces costs.
As the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia emphasized, import substitution in the field of food is an important part of ensuring national security. “One of the measures to reduce the import dependence of our agricultural industry and increase the competitiveness of domestic agricultural products was the implementation of the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Agriculture of scientific and technical policy in the agro-industrial complex, measures within which give impetus to the transfer of domestic agricultural technologies to the real sector of the economy,” said the director of the department for coordinating the activities of organizations in the field Agricultural Sciences Ministry of Education Vugar Bagirov.
According to him, thanks to molecular genetic research, domestic seeds have appeared several times cheaper than imported ones. At the same time, they are better adapted to Russian agro-climatic conditions (drought-resistant) and are unpretentious in care, leveled, not subject to rot. The appearance of such seeds of domestic selection will significantly reduce the dependence of agribusiness on imported seed.
“The experience of 2020 has shown that imported analogs in conditions of climatic changes are significantly inferior to domestic hybrids in terms of their quality characteristics,” Bagirov stressed. In addition, he added, buyers of seeds produced under the FNTP can receive a subsidy from the state to compensate for up to 70% of the costs.
Olesya Afanasyeva, head of the Chuvash branch of the Agroanalytics Center, noted that every year, due to unfavorable weather conditions, agrarians lose part of their harvest. In the current season, beet growers in the Central European part of Russia noted the widespread occurrence of fusarium and aphanomycete root rot caused by rains and excessive soil moisture during the growing season of sugar beets, which negatively affects the formation of productivity, and also leads to problems with storing root crops. Farmers in the southern part of the country, on the contrary, noted a lack of moisture in the soil due to high air temperatures, which led to a later start of harvesting. As of October 19, in general, 74,3% of sown sugar beets were harvested in Russia, the average yield is 360,3 c / ha, which is 19,5% lower than last year's value.
“Thus, the creation of domestic hybrids, taking into account the territorial and climatic characteristics of the country, should lead to a decrease in the dependence of the crop on negative weather phenomena, which will serve as a great help for farmers and will become a significant factor in increasing food security,” Afanasyeva stressed.
By 2025, domestic sugar beet seeds should occupy a quarter of the market, the FNTP implies. According to Shchelkovo Agrokhim and RusAgro, this goal is quite achievable, although some experts consider it too ambitious. “To occupy 25% of the market, domestic breeding hybrids must have a set of such valuable economic characteristics that will ensure their uniqueness and competitiveness, as well as be offered to agricultural producers at a very favorable price,” said Nadezhda Dolmatova, manager of the HSE Center for Technology Transfer.
However, as manufacturers say, next year, domestic hybrids may occupy 10% of the Russian market. Their seeds have already arrived at the Schelkovo Agrokhim dragee plant and are ready for sale. The seed acquisition season will start in November and end in April.