Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The impact of climate change on sugarbeet yield in the UK: 1976–2004

  • K. W. JAGGARD (a1), A. QI (a1) and M. A. SEMENOV (a2)

Since the 1970s, the delivered sugar yield per hectare has risen at an average annual rate of 0·111 t/ha, while the sugar yield in the official variety trials has increased at an average annual rate of 0·204 t/ha. These increases are usually considered to be the result of improvements in varieties and in beet agronomy. The present paper considers the possible impact of recent changes in climate on UK sugar yields by using the Broom's Barn Crop Growth Model and daily weather data collected over the last 30 years. Simulations of sugar yield using weather in eastern England since 1976 increased by an average annual rate of 0·139 t/ha, which accounted for about two thirds of the rate in the official variety trials. This increase was not an artefact of the accuracy of weather recording but it was, in part, accounted for by the trend to earlier sowing. Although it was not statistically significant, the earlier sowing trend was associated with an increase of 0·025 t/ha per year and was an indirect effect of the climate change. The annual deviations from these trends have not tended to become significantly bigger or smaller over the three decades. The model is not variety-specific, so it makes no allowance for variety improvements during the last 30 years. Clearly, varieties have improved so the implication must be that some of the changes in agronomy have tended to decrease the yields significantly. The changes in agronomic practice most likely to be responsible are the extension of the crop processing campaign, leading to greater post-harvest storage losses, and a decrease in the irrigated area.

Corresponding author
*To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. J. Brooks , M. A. Semenov & P. D. Jamieson (2001). Simplifying Sirius: sensitivity analysis and development of a meta-model for wheat yield prediction. European Journal of Agronomy 14, 4360.

D. F. Calderini & G. A. Slafer (1998). Changes in yield and yield stability in wheat during the 20th century. Field Crops Research 57, 335347.

F. Ewert , D. Rodriguez , P. Jamieson , M. A. Semenov , R. A. C. Mitchell , J. Goudriaan , J. R. Porter , B. A. Kimball , P. J. Pinter , R. Manderscheid , H. J. Weigel , A. Fangmeier , E. Fereres & F. Villalobos (2002). Effects of elevated CO2 and drought on wheat: testing crop simulation models for different experimental and climatic conditions. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 93, 249266.

K. Gregson , D. J. Hector & M. McGowan (1987). A one-parameter model for the soil water characteristic. Journal of Soil Science 38, 483486.

K. W. Jaggard , C. J. A. Clark , M. J. May , S. McCullagh & A. P. Draycott (1997). Changes in the weight and quality of sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris) roots in storage clamps on farms. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 129, 287301.

K. W. Jaggard , A. M. Dewar & J. D. Pidgeon (1998). The relative effects of drought stress and virus yellows on the yield of sugarbeet in the UK, 1980–95. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 130, 337343.

K. W. Jaggard , C. J. A. Clark & A. P. Draycott (1999). The weight and processing quality of components of the storage roots of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 79, 13891398.

P. D. Jamieson & M. A. Semenov (2000). Modelling nitrogen uptake and redistribution in wheat. Field Crops Research 68, 2129.

P. D. Jamieson , I. R. Brooking , M. A. Semenov & J. R. Porter (1998 a). Making sense of wheat development: a critique of methodology. Field Crops Research 55, 117127.

P. D. Jamieson , M. A. Semenov , I. R. Brooking & G. S. Francis (1998 b). Sirius: a mechanistic model of wheat response to environmental variation. European Journal of Agronomy 8, 161179.

P. D. Jamieson , J. Berntsen , F. Ewert , B. A. Kimball , J. E. Olesen , P. J. Pinter , J. R. Porter & M. A. Semenov (2000). Modelling CO2 effects on wheat with varying nitrogen supplies. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 82, 2737.

P. D. Jones , D. H. Lister , K. W. Jaggard & J. D. Pidgeon (2003). Future climate impact on the productivity of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) in Europe. Climatic Change 58, 93108.

C. Lawless , M. A. Semenov & P. D. Jamieson (2005). A wheat canopy model linking leaf area and phenology. European Journal of Agronomy 22, 1932.

S. P. Long , E. A. Ainsworth , A. Rogers & D. R. Ort (2004). Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide: plants FACE the future. Annual Review of Plant Biology 55, 591628.

B. Märländer , C. Hoffmann , H. J. Koch , E. Ladewig , R. Merkes , J. Petersen & N. Stockfisch (2003). Environmental situation and yield performance of the sugar beet crop in Germany: heading for sustainable development. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 189, 201226.

J. Öfversten , L. Jauhiainen & A. Kangas (2004). Contribution of new varieties to cereal yields in Finland between 1973 and 2003. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 142, 281287.

A. Qi , C. Kenter , C. Hoffmann & K. W. Jaggard (2005). The Broom's Barn sugar beet growth model and its adaptation to soils with varied available water content. European Journal of Agronomy 23, 108122.

G. M. Richter & M. A. Semenov (2005). Modelling impacts of climate change on wheat yields in England and Wales: assessing drought risks. Agricultural Systems 84, 7797.

G. M. Richter , A. Qi , M. A. Semenov & K. W. Jaggard (2006). Modelling the variability of UK sugar beet yields under climate change and husbandry adaptations. Soil Use and Management 22, 3947.

R. K. Scott & K. W. Jaggard (2000). Impact of weather, agronomy and breeding on yields of sugarbeet grown in the UK since 1970. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 134, 341352.

T. H. Sparks , P. J. Croxton , N. Collinson & P. W. Taylor (2005). Examples of phenological change, past and present, in UK farming. Annals of Applied Biology 146, 531537.

J. Wolf , L. G. Evans , M. A. Semenov , H. Eckersten & A. Iglesias (1996). Comparison of wheat simulation models under climate change. 1. Model calibration and sensitivity analyses. Climate Research 7, 253270.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Agricultural Science
  • ISSN: 0021-8596
  • EISSN: 1469-5146
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-agricultural-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 36 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 181 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.