21 June 2002

Beet profits slip but lid is kept on production costs

BEET growers made an average £489/ha from the crop last year, compared with £608/ha in 1998.

But production costs were down and British Sugar believes it is on track to achieve its "20:20 vision" goal of 20% lower costs and 20% higher yield in five years.

Lower prices are partly to blame for the poor enterprise margins in BSs survey of 300 representative growers, the results of which were released at Cereals 2002.

But the weather-induced plunge in yield, down from an average 55t/ha to under 50t/ha, was the main cause.

The good news is that costs were down, variables dropping from £389/ha to £361 and operational costs from £654 to £527, mainly because of reduced cultivations, says British Sugars Simon Fisher.

With this years crop looking so well, Mr Fisher has little doubt that financial results will improve significantly this season after the outgoers scheme. &#42