Adjusted sugar yields/ha could set a record this season, early predictions from British Sugar suggests.

Average sugar content for the campaign so far is running at 17.7%. Last week’s figure was 18.2%, and combined with high root yields, it means sugar yields per hectare could be the highest ever, the firm’s Paul Bee said.

“We might have had years with higher sugar levels or higher root yields, but this might be the highest combination of the two. But obviously there is still a long way to go.”

Yields were high due to a combination of early drilling, ample summer rainfall and the lack of any significant pest attack, he suggested.

As of last Friday [7 November] about 26% of the crop had been delivered into factory, with only about 5% stored in clamp. “We’re still very much hand-to-mouth lifting for now, and should be for a little while yet.”

Lifting conditions had been good, he said. “It is a little bit wet now, but there are no real problems.”

A further 50% of the crop is expected to be lifted by the end of the year, leaving 20% to be harvested in the New Year.