By Olivia Cooper

SUGAR beet is expected to be in short supply this year, and traders are tipping Citrus pulp as the bargain replacement.

First prices from Banks Cargill put sugar-beet pellets 13/t above last season, at 88-90/t delivered for Aug/Sept, rising to 95/t for April.

Citrus pulp is discounted by 5-6/t in August, widening to 15-17/t by April, a significant saving over sugar beet, despite its lower protein content.

“Buying citrus this year will save the farmer money without harming milk yield,” says straights trader Hugh Shedden.

GM mystery hits soya

Soya prices have fallen by 5/t over the week, driven by a number of factors pressuring Chicago futures.

Reports of an unknown strain of DNA discovered in Monsantos Roundup Ready soyabeans sent the market into a tailspin last week.

The story was later found to be old news, but widespread showers in the US midwest sparked talk of improved yield prospects, and prices have struggled to improve.

US soya is now in the last 2-3 weeks of the critical pod-setting stage. After that, no amount of rain will improve yield but, for now, markets will continue to be dictated by the weather.

HiPro is trading at about 170/t delivered for August, with Brazilian soya pegged at 170/t Nov-April.

The Brazilian government has backed out of allowing the use of genetically modified soya this year, after a court ruled that the agriculture minister had overstepped his bounds.

It is now unlikely that Monsanto will get GM approval until 2002 at the earliest, maintaining supplies of non-GM soya for this year at least.