By Farmers Weekly staff

SUGAR beet growers have an extra month to transfer contract tonnage for the 2001 season under the rhizomania stewardship scheme, whereby which those whose farms are affected by the disease can assign contracts to unaffected growers.

British Sugar now says it will process private deals until the end of the year.

The companys tender system for 2001 contracts has now closed. Almost 46,000t were placed from 40 lots to 187 non-affected growers – 20,000t more than in the 1999 round.

Minimum bid price was 10/t, but the average pool price reached 11.40/t.

Although the final amount is more than 2/t lower than last year, it still more than offsets the extra margin foregone compared with the next most profitable crop, says BSs Robin Limb.

Brokers also report reasonable business. Chris Godfrey of Boston, Lincolnshire-based DCFM says more than 48,000t have been traded at an average price of 10.26/t after fees.

Current values are 9/t for lots over 1000t, 50p more for smaller parcels.