5 April 1996

Beet two-thirds drilled

NEARLY two-thirds of the national sugar beet crop had been drilled by the beginning of this week. That was ahead of British Sugars target of 50% in the ground by the end of March, says John Prince, British Sugars commercial seeds manager.

Some growers finished drilling two weeks ago on lighter soils in East Anglia. Those who have not have no need to panic. "In the right conditions, 5-8% of the crop can be drilled a day, so clearly growers only need to drill when soils are truly fit. That has been and should remain the case."

With a fine week forecast, much of the remaining crop will be sown before BSs preferred finish date of Apr 10, which will avoid big yield penalties, he adds.

Druid sugar beet goes into light gravel soil at Peasgood and Sons, Fenland Farm, Langtoft, Peterborough, on Monday. The 11ha field was in winter barley last year. Repeated frosts mean soils are still cool.