Sugar beet yields are hitting 100t/ha along the north Norfolk coast, with crops bolstered by a good level of rain and sun throughout the summer and autumn.
Tom Dye, managing director at Albanwise Farming, has lifted about one-third of his 300ha of sugar beet at Green Farm, Saxlingham, three miles west of Holt.
“It’s been a good year, perhaps not a record one, with current yields of about 85-100t/ha,” he told Farmers Weekly.
A record average yield on the 1,940ha north Norfolk farming unit of 100t/ha was hit in 2014. All the beet is delivered to British Sugar’s factor at Cantley, south-east of Norwich.
Closer to the coast, the Holkham Estate is seeing good yields of more than 80t/ha, with nearly one-third of its 260ha of sugar beet lifted.
James Beamish, farm manager of the 2,300ha in-house-managed arable land, said yields are averaging in the high 80s, despite the crop being drilled late, and this compares well with Holkham’s average yields of 70-75t/ha.
“It will be a record year at Holkham if these yields turn out to be the average for the year,” he said.
Beet processor British Sugar is forecasting a bumper crop this season “in excess of 1.4m tonnes” of sugar from its 3,500 growers helped by favourable beet growing weather.
The sugar beet crop area this season is up by one-third to 107,000ha, encouraged by higher beet prices. This compares with the 116,000ha grown in 2014, which produced a record sugar crop of 1.45m tonnes.