A further 6-10% sugar beet quota cut could be on the cards, on top of the 13.5% recently confirmed, according to William Martin, vice-chairman of the NFU sugar board.

Cuts across Europe had so far surrendered around 4.8m tonnes of sugar production of the 6m European Commission target. Debate was still ongoing within the Commission about the remaining 1.2m tonnes, he said.

“Are we going to see further cuts across the board? I guess that the Commission will indicate a further cut in quotas for everybody is required.

“It is likely to indicate that if you go for that cut now, you will get compensated, whereas if you wait for a couple of years they’ll do it and they’ll take it off you for nothing.”

If the UK decided to participate in such a scheme, a six per cent, or perhaps even 10%, cut in quota might occur, he suggested.

“Please don’t take that as an indication you should all go away and reduce your quotas and plantings by a further 6-10%. One, it might not happen. For 2008, regardless of what quotas are cut, our crops are all paid for at the full quota price by British Sugar. And if we over-produce they also guarantee to pay for all that at full quota price.”