Sheep producers are being urged to place winter orders for sugar beet early to avoid feed shortages.

Duncan Hook, from animal feed company Trident, warned that demand for high-quality sugar beet pellets usually outstrips supply towards the end of the plant’s processing season around the middle of September.

“This year we have witnessed favourable growing conditions throughout the summer and early indications are pointing towards an above average crop.

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“Despite this, we don’t want livestock producers to become complacent. Last year we sold over 500,000t of sugar beet feeds and expect similar demand this year, with imported product being relatively expensive in comparison,” said Mr Hook, at the NSA Event, Malvern.

Wholesale prices are expected to be announced on 22 August, once crop quantity and quality has been confirmed.

Mr Hook advises producers to place winter orders soon after this.

He added: “We often find that once the weather changes we see a huge uplift in orders placed as minds turn to winter feeding.

“Therefore to secure the best price and service, it is recommended to get orders in early,” he added.