Sugar beet plants© Tim Scrivener

British Sugar (BS) is looking for new growers to take up one-year contracts at £22/t for the 2017-18 crop.

The rate being offered is the same as for regular growers who will produce their first post-quota beet crop next year.

Both groups of growers have the potential to earn a price bonus if the EU sugar price rises above €474/t (£402/t), with growers receiving 10% of any uplift above that price. 

The price for any beet in excess of the tonnage growers have contracted to supply will be determined later in the season, usually before spring planting.

See also: New sugar beet varieties offer farmers up to 5% extra yield

The processor said it was increasing the area grown as it was positive about the future of the industry and, following the removal of quotas, saw opportunities to expand. 

New growers are being asked to show their interest and depending on the level of that interest, BS will consider what contracts to offer.

It will generally be looking for a minimum of 500t, offering a transport allowance for those within 60 miles of one of its four factories. 

The only difference between the offer to existing and new growers is those who have grown on quota for BS in the past are being offered contracts for up to three years rather than one year.

However, BS expects to extend the one-year contract annually to new growers.

Rising sugar beet yields, the attraction of beet as a break crop (including the opportunity to clean up blackgrass) and the fact beet fulfils three-crop rule requirements are touted as the crop’s main attractions by BS, alongside the ability to spread seasonal workloads.

The deep-rooting crop also benefits soil structure while the overwintering stubble aspect promotes certain biodiversity aspects, said BS.

It also pointed to the advantages of having a known price well in advance of planting, guaranteed payment within 23 days and the availability of credit.