20 October 1995

Indian summer is helping sugar beet

CONTINUED good weather has helped boost beet sugar content and is keeping harvest losses down, says British Sugar.

Sugars have risen by 0.2% in the last week to average 16.5%. "Sugars dipped when we had the rain in early September, but have climbed back, almost reaching last years levels," says BS business development manager Peter Williams.

It is too early to accurately assess yield, he says. But good conditions have helped growers to cut harvesting losses by 40% compared with last year, to average about 2.5t/ha (1t/acre). Dirt tares are low, averaging 4%.

Growers appear to be heeding the companys "just-in-time" harvesting advice, leaving crops to grow until 2-3 days before delivery date, rather than stockpiling roots. Factories are running "as fast as they can" with no reported problems, says Mr Williams.