This year’s record-breaking sugar beet crop has passed British Sugar’s target by 2.9t/ha, according to Robin Limb.


“Last year was good, but we’ve seen monumental yields this year,” he reported, confirming a UK adjusted average yield of 72.9t/ha. “Only the French have done better, claiming a national average yield of 94t/ha.” given an, by of 70t/ha

Keith Jaggard of Broom’s Barn explained that a hard winter was an important part of the picture with high-yielding crops. “It has an impact on the quality of seed-beds that can be produced,” he said.

He also pointed out that half of the national crop had been sown by 22 March, getting it off to a good start. “April was dry, so later sown crops struggled. But the earlier ones could take advantage of the warm conditions.”

This had also allowed rapid canopy development, he remarked. “The more solar energy that can be intercepted by the canopy, the better. High yields are dependent on this.”

Last summer, there was more solar energy received in every month. “Air quality in the UK is improving, so we’re getting brighter summers. We also had enough water to keep crops going.”

Prof Jaggard added that growers are getting better and plant breeding improvements have helped. “There was enough canopy all autumn to maintain high sugars. But there’s also something else going on – we’re not sure what, so it’s known as factor X.”

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