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Environmental situation and yield performance of the sugar beet crop in Germany: Heading for sustainable development

  • Autor/in: Märländer, B., C. Hoffmann, H.-J. Koch, E. Ladewig, R. Merkes, J. Petersen, N. Stockfisch
  • Jahr: 2003
  • Zeitschrift: J. Agronomy & Crop Science 189
  • Seite/n: 201-226


The environmental situation and current yield performance of sugar beet production in Germany are described and compared to those in other European regions. A continuous increase in yield performance and enhanced technical quality have been achieved through progress in breeding and improvements in crop management systems. This rise in yield potential 3 has been brought about not by increased production intensity, but by better use of natural resources and production factors. In Germany, legislation rules many environmental aspects of agricultural plant production, and special laws are in force concerning fertilizer use, soil protection, and pesticide use. In sugar beet, nitrogen fertilizer use has decreased greatly and may be reduced further in some regions. A further reduction of potassium and phosphorus fertilizer use does not seem to be appropriate. Conservation tillage contributes to soil protection and is already performed on >100 000 ha of land growing sugar beet. Strategies of integrated production aim to reduce pesticide use to the bare minimum. Integrated pest management is e.ective to control insects, nematodes and leaf spot diseases. Pesticide use in sugar beet is dominated by herbicide application. The most promising strategy to reduce the amount of active ingredient seems to be the growing of genetically modi.ed herbicide-tolerant varieties. Possible directions for future research are discussed, and the prospects for sustainable development, in terms of economic, ecological and social factors, are considered.
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