More sugar beet growers have chosen to fill in their 2010 beet contract with British Sugar online this year, says the processor.

About 200 growers have already filled in their 2010 sugar beet contract using British Sugar’s new online service.

Growers have been interested in using the internet to manage their contracts for some time, said the firm’s Paul Bee, following successfully tracking beet deliveries online. A pilot version of the online contracting system was tested last year. “It has been built with growers help; we’ve taken on board their suggestions.”

The result is a system, which went live last week with this year’s contract offer, that is designed to enable the majority of information sent to and received from British Sugar to be administered online and replace the paperwork sent to growers.

To make it easier to use the information has been split into three sections: Contract offer, seed order and grower details. Every screen is easily printable.

One of the advantages is being able to quickly see the status of the contract offer and seed orders, says Mr Bee. The programme will display contract information on a rolling three-year basis and provides supporting information to help with seed orders. In addition, users will be able to access sugar beet delivery results and financial information.

The feedback from those already using it this year has been positive. “It is fast, easy to use and simplifies administration,” Mr Bee says.

To switch to online contracting growers need to fill out a “Growers Mandate” form, available through www.bsonline.co.uk, and post it back to British Sugar, he says. “The system is completely secure, with password access plus a second level of security within the programme. It has bank level security.”

He expects up to 600 growers to use the system by the contract deadline of 6 November in its first year. “And if it follows the success of load reports, I expect the vast majority of growers to use it in the future.”