27 October 1995

HARVEST CONDITIONS STILL GOOD

Sugar beet harvesting conditions have remained good, although the continued dry spell has caused some concern.

"On some soil types roots are breaking off at about 8in. That is still fairly deep but some growers have decided to hold off until they get some rain," says British Sugars John Mellor.

The Quality Harvesting Programme showed average harvester loss last week was 2.8t/ha (1.13t/acre). In a third of cases losses were above target, mainly due to poor maintenance and incorrect settings. Improvements of 30-50% in performance were achieved after assessment.

With little soil being lifted, gates may need adjusting to prevent loss of small beet. Machines should also be kept full to reduce root breakage and damage in the absence of a soil cushion, Mr Mellor suggests.