EARLY LIFTING of sugar beet has got off to a good start in many areas and the Wissington factory in Norfolk has already broken its daily throughput record.

The factory achieved a daily ‘slice’ of over 18,600 tonnes, according to British Sugar’s Paul Bee.

“Generally it’s all going very well. There was an issue at the Allscott factory a couple of weeks ago, which was closed for one and a half weeks, but it’s all up and running now.”

Crop quality is pleasing, with sugar contents coming in at 17.2%, which is “very good for the time of year” and close to the five year average of 17.4%, he said.

Lifting conditions are generally good, so crops are coming in clean, with soil tares of 4.3% (compared to nearly 9% last year) and crown tares of 9.6%, he added.

Impurities are below the five-year average, with amino nitrogen coming in at 76mg/100g sugar and potassium at 840mg, he said.

At present, around 84% of beet is still in the ground, with 10% delivered to factories and 6% in clamps, Mr Bee noted. “Try to lift beet as late as possible – crops remain clean [of disease], there’s no frost yet and they’re still putting on weight.”

For the latest clamping advice from the experts, see this week’s Farmers Weekly magazine (21 October 2005).