Can you make the decisions to successfully gow a high-yielding sugar beet crop? Farmers Weekly‘s Beet the Best competition is returning to find out.

The virtual sugar beet competition tests growers’ ability to produce high-yielding sugar beet crops by making decisions in much the same way as they would in a real-life situation on an arable farm.

Funded by British Sugar, Beet the Best requires growers to carefully manage their beet crops from pre-planting preparations through to post-harvest storage and transport.

There were a high number of entrants in last year’s campaign, which was so successful that both sponsors and partners – the BBRO, NFU and Newcastle University – all agreed it should run again.

“Growers and industry specialists came together in groups to discuss the questions and come up with the answers, which helped people exchange knowledge and form great relationships,” says Paul Bee, British Sugar’s agriculture communications manager.

The competition will run in a similar format to last year with both individual and team categories. Questions will be split into three rounds, which will take place in October, November and December, and each will focus on a different stage of crop management.

Beet the Best aims to raise awareness of sugar beet and showcase the credentials of growing profitable sugar beet in an arable rotation.

AICC sugar beet specialist Pat Turnbull, winner of the individual category last year, says: “The competition is a great way of making you think about different aspects of your beet growing.

“It sharpens up your knowledge by encouraging you to research some areas in more detail.”

Last year’s winner’s trip to Spain, with a team of enthusiastic beet growers, was a superb experience, she adds. “It gave me a great insight into how Spanish growers use irrigation and the natural climate to produce excellent beet yields.”

Entrants will be asked to use their knowledge and skill to grow a virtual sugar beet crop in a bid to maximise yield potential and top 100t/ha-plus yield.

This year, Beet the Best will again feature exciting prizes in individual and group categories of an overseas study tour to look at beet growing in another country.