Do you know what it takes to grow a 100t/ha sugar-beet crop? That’s what the Farmers Weekly and British Sugar Beet the Best competition aims to find out.


Teams will be able to sign up for the competition from 10 September before the first round, which kicks off on 1 October, and could win an expenses-paid trip to the Castilla y León region of northern Spain.

BASIS-registered entrants will receive two CPD points for each round they complete and there will also be four NRoSO points awarded for each of the three rounds.

Last season 26 sugar-beet growers achieved yields of more than 100t/ha by carefully managing their crops, from pre-planting preparations through to post-harvest storage and transport.

The Beet the Best competition, in association with British Sugar, asks entrants to use their knowledge and skill to nurture a virtual sugar-beet crop in a bid to maximise yield potential and top the 100t/ha-plus growers’ achievements.

The team, which can of be up to four people, that achieves the highest yields in each category, will win places on the trip.

beet the best

There will be four categories: Sugar-beet growers, Young Farmers’ clubs, university teams and agronomists/advisers. The agronomist/adviser category will be open to individual entries only.

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. (See panel)

Answers that give the greatest chance of maximising yield and topping the 100t/ha target will return the highest number of points.

There will be a mixture of multiple choice and open questions and answers will be scored according to the impact they will have on crop yield.

From these data a panel of experts from British Sugar, BBRO, Newcastle University and the NFU will select a winner from each category.

THE ROUNDS

Round 1 : (1-31 October) Preparation

You will be asked to make management decisions that will set the crop up to achieve maximum yields. These will include soil management, crop nutrition, rotations and management plans.

Round 2 : (1-30 November) Crop protection

Questions will be based on weed, pest and disease control, plant populations and pest and weed identification.

Round 3 : (1-31 December) Delivery

You and your team will need to give your thoughts on efficient harvesting strategy as well as field and clamp storage techniques. Minimising beet damage and late season challenges are also covered here.

THE PRIZE

Winners from each of the categories (including all team members) and the winning individual will be invited to join the judges on a trip to the Castilla y León region of northern Spain in April 2010 to study sugar production in that area and other parts of the country.

Visits will include a sugar factory tour, a visit to a beet research centre and well as tours to Spanish farms growing beet. Entrants should ensure they would be available to attend or provide a representative.

HOW TO ENTER

• Visit beetthebest from 10 September to register your team and receive email updates before the first round opens on 1 October.