PROCESSING HICCUPS in the West Country‘s sole sugar beet factory at Allscott, Shropshire are causing on-farm frustration this week (w/c Jan 10).

Mild weather means clamped beet losses are minimal, but the experience is annoying growers and hauliers.

The trouble began in November after a scheduled two-three day shut down to install new equipment led to a range of other problems, said Richard Solari, who grows 109ha (270 acres) of beet at nearby Shifnal.

Some beet deliveries had to be diverted to the Newark, Notts factory, he noted.

He is now about a fortnight late with lifting, which is causing a knock-on delay for wheat drilling.

British Sugar‘s Paul Bee said the latest problems at Allscott were due to problems with routine mid-season ‘boil outs‘ and could mean processing runs into March.

Growers are being paid earlier to compensate for the slowness of deliveries, he said and pointed out that those wishing to get on with wheat sowing have the option of lifting and storing.

But Mr Solari added: “We have been lucky with the weather. What we don‘t need now is three or four weeks when it turns very cold.”