6 June 1998

BEET UK THOROUGHLY OKAY

The best in beet harvester technology will be on show at Beet UK, at Aubourn Farmings Nevile Estate, Lincs.

PUT the date in your diary now: Wed 21 Oct 1998.

Thats when the first major sugar beet harvesting demonstration for 10 years – Beet UK – will take place at Aubourn Farmings Nevile Estate near Wellingore, Lincolnshire.

Rhizomania fears put the dampener on regular national sugar beet events. The 1987 harvesting demonstration was cancelled after the disease made its appearance in East Anglia. A smaller-scale, interim event was organised at Lavenham Fen Farms, Benwick, in 1993 – but since then machinery design has moved on apace.

On display will be the best in beet harvester technology, including the modern six-row tanker designs from throughout Europe. Back in 1985, only 17% of the UK crop was harvested by six-row machines. Now about half British sugar beet is lifted with this type of tackle. Also on show at work will be a range of cleaner-loaders.

Strict hygiene

"Sensible hygiene precautions since the arrival of rhizomania in the UK have made the event possible again," says Dr Mike Armstrong of British Sugar. "Visitors and equipment will naturally be subject to strict hygiene controls in accordance with best industry practice."

The venue may be familiar: Aubourn Farmings Nevile Estate also hosted Cereals 96. The beet has been drilled into lighter brash- type soils – the heath and areas on the farm, which should ensure a good demonstration even if the weather turns wet.

The demo crop got off to a good start, being sown before the spring wet weather. It was all Gaucho-treated. The commercial acreage at the Nevile Estate is large, at 144ha (356acres).

Anyone interested in exhibiting at Beet UK should contact Dulcie Mitchell at the East of England Showground on 01733 234451.

&#8226 BEET UK is organised by British Sugar and the East of England Agricultural Society, in association with Crops magazine and Aubourn Farming. Sponsors are NatWest and Whiting and Partners.