Challenging conditions on farm for sugar beet
8 June 2020
This year’s sugar beet crop in the UK is facing several challenges according to processor British Sugar.
After one of the wettest harvests in memory, which led to the longest ever sugar beet campaign in Europe, growers are now facing near-drought conditions. Drilling of the crop was a little later than normal and, like all spring crops, germination has been challenging in some fields with the lack of rainfall.
Commenting, Agriculture Director Peter Watson said:
“Arable farmers are facing challenges in many crops this year due to the extreme weather conditions and sugar beet is no different. This means the emerging plant populations have been mixed – with some very poor.
“We’ve also seen unprecedented numbers of aphids on the crop, increasing the disease threat.
“Although the sugar beet crop has good powers of recovery and recent rainfall is welcome, this would need to persist for some time. We would therefore predict a reduction in crop harvested compared to last year.”
Notes to editors:
- British Sugar is the sole processor of the UK’s sugar beet crop and supplies around 50 per cent of the UK’s demand for sugar. The company operates four advanced manufacturing plants across East Anglia and the East Midlands.
- In addition to producing sugar, each year, British Sugar’s factories produces a wide range of co-products including animal feed, electricity and bioethanol.
- British Sugar is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods. The company’s output is sold to consumers in the UK under the Silver Spoon brand and under many supermarket own-label brands.
- The 2019/20 sugar beet campaign finished in mid-April, when British Sugar’s Newark factory closed its gates for beet intake after 208 days – the longest known uninterrupted European sugar beet campaign.
- A total of 7.77m adjusted tonnes were processed by British Sugar’s four factories, which between them received 290,000 deliveries of beet over the campaign, with an average final yield of 78 tonnes per hectare. This is above the five-year average of 75 tonnes per hectare.