3 November 1995

RAIN EASES EARLIER CONCERNS

Recent rain in most areas has improved sugar beet harvesting conditions, easing earlier concerns that some soils were becoming too hard and causing root breakage.

This was reflected in last weeks British Sugar harvester assessments, where average loss fell nearly 40% compared with the previous week to 1.74t/ha (0.7t/acre).

Despite that, there is "room for improvement" as 20% of harvesters were losing more than the 2.5t/ha (1t/acre) target, says agricultural development officer Stephen Brown. One often-overlooked source of loss is when roots break as they are unloaded into trailers, he adds. Harvester operators should try to reduce drop height where possible to avoid this. Sugar contents continue to rise, averaging 16.8% for the week, says BS.