BC Seed Trials: Specialty Beet Variety Trial 2016 (Brief)
This brief is based on one year of variety trials data collection.
The goal of the BC Seed Trials is to engage farmers in producing knowledge relevant to seed systems development in British Columbia. These variety trials aim to identify superior crop varieties for fresh market farming and seed production.
Golden and Chioggia beets are prized for their unique appearance, giving them value as seed crops. Golden beets are known to have poor germination, an important production challenge.
Priority traits for this trial included:
- Good germination
- Smooth, uniform, and globe-shaped with few root hairs
- Attractive tops that are a good size for bunching
- Disease resistance
We used a Mother-Baby trial design, which pairs larger, researcher-managed trials with a group of farmer-managed trials on participating farms. The UBC Farm and Wisbey Veggies in Abbotsford served as organic and conventional “mother” sites. The UBC Farm site used a randomized block trial design, planting each variety three times in different locations. Beet trials were planted at five on-farm sites, including two farms that were certified organic and three that were not.
The variety trials described in this brief were conducted in 2016. These results represent only one year of data collection, and therefore should be seen as a snapshot of the varieties in that year, which might vary in other weather conditions.
Varieties Included in 2016 Beet Trials
|Golden||Full Circle Seeds||Golden||organic||OP||BC-grown|
|Chioggia Guardsmark||Johnny's Selected Seeds||Chioggia||organic||OP||Chioggia Check|
|Boldor||Johnny's Selected Seeds||Golden||untreated||OP||Commercial|
|Touchstone Gold||Wild Garden Seeds||Golden||organic||OP||Farmer-selected/PNW|
|3-beet-grex||Planting Seeds Project||Golden||organic||OP||BC-grown|
|Touchstone Gold||Johnny's Selected Seeds||Golden||organic||OP||Gold Check|
|Chioggia||West Coast Seeds||Chioggia||organic||OP||Heirloom|
|Red Ace||Johnny's Selected Seeds||Red||organic||F1||Overall Check|
Golden: These varieties had poorer germination, thinner and more upright tops, and rounder roots with rougher skin and more root hairs. The best performing Golden Beets were ‘Yellow Sunrise’ from Osborne Quality Seeds and ‘Touchstone Gold’ from Wild Garden Seeds.
Chioggia: Chioggia beets had better germination, larger and floppier tops, and more squat or disk-shaped roots with smooth skin and fewer root hairs than golden varieties. The Chioggia varieties’ performance was very similar, with the exception of ‘Golden Grex’.
Beet Top Quality
Golden: ‘Yellow Sunrise’ from Osborne and ‘Golden’ from Full Circle seeds scored best for top stature for bunching. ‘Touchstone Gold’ also scored well. ‘Golden’ from Osborne and ‘Boldor’ tended to have thinner tops. ‘Golden Grex’ from Fedco had extremely tall tops.
Chioggia: These varieties tended to have more delicate, tender, and floppy leaves which were easily damaged when bunching but had superior eating quality.
Beet Root Quality
Golden: At the UBC Farm, ‘Yellow Sunrise’ from Osborne and ‘Touchstone Gold’ from Wild Garden Seeds both performed well as the top golden beet types, while at the on-farm-sites ‘Yellow Sunrise’ did much more poorly. Both strains of ‘Golden’ had much rougher skin with discolouration and more root hairs. ‘Boldor’ displayed significant scarring, cracking, and internal rot in many locations.
Chioggia: These varieties had smoother, more hairless roots overall, with less difference between the varieties. They varied in terms of internal appearance, with the Chioggia from Uprising Seeds showing the clearest concentric circle pattern when sliced.
A public testing event was held on July 9, 2016 at the UBC Farm Farmers’ Market, where shoppers tasted varieties prepared raw and cooked, as well as a feature dish using beets.
Golden: ‘Yellow Sunrise’ from Osborne and ‘Touchstone Gold’ from Wild Garden Seeds, and ‘Golden Grex’ from Fedco were judged to have the best flavour.
Chioggia: Chioggia from Sunshine Seeds and Chioggia Guardsmark were judged to have the best flavour.
About this research
This brief is based on the following report:
Lyon, A., Sylvestre, M., Thoreau, C., MacKinnon, S., Prasad, R. (2017). BC Seed Trials: Specialty Beet Variety Trial 2016. http://www.bcseedtrials.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/BC-Seed-Trials-Beet-Results-2016.pdf.