NFU sugar board chairman Mike Blacker said it was difficult to judge whether this was a good deal.

“There are several restructuring schemes under discussion in Europe, and much could happen over the next 12 months.”

And although the buy-back offer only represented 2% of the national crop, at an average yield of 50t/ha, the move meant taking 3000ha out of sugar production.

“The NFU advice is for growers to seek professional advice before reaching a decision on whether to take up the offer,” said Mr Blacker.