UK: British Sugar warns late beet drilling could impact yields

Published: 04/17/2018, 1:41:18 PM

Sugar beet processor British Sugar is warning the delay in drilling of this spring's crop due to the wet weather could affect yields, with the planned crop area seen similar to the previous year, according to the UK's Farmers Weekly.

Cold, wet weather has meant drilling only really started after Easter, and just the lightest land has been sown as growers eagerly await drier weather which is forecast for this week.

"Looking ahead, there has been a good take-up by growers of sugar beet contracts for 2018/19, the area contracted is in line with 2017-18, but delays experienced in drilling the new crop may affect yields this year," the group said.

The group also trimmed its forecast of the 2017 harvest to 1.37 million tonnes of sugar from a previous estimate of 1.38 million tonnes, but this is still well ahead of the previous year's crop of 900,000 tonnes.

The record overall harvest was in 2014, when the group produced 1.45 million tonnes of sugar from 116,000ha.

The group has also reported record yields from the 2017 harvest of 83.4t/ha beating 2014's previous yield of 79.8t/ha. Some 8.9 million tonnes of beet were processed from 3,500 growers by British Sugar from more than 105,000ha of beet grown in 2017, producing the 1.37 million tonnes of sugar.

The sugar beet harvesting campaign closed just before Easter when British Sugar's  four plants - Cantley and Wissington in Norfolk, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Newark in Nottinghamshire - stopped receiving any more beet.