18 May 2001
Waterlogged beet finally lifted

By Andrew Blake

A WORCESTERSHIRE sugar beet grower has lifted the last of his crop — almost 15 months after it was sown.

Waterlogging prevented Roy Neath of Church Farm, Abberley lifting the last six acres of the crop he planted on February 20 last year until this month.

The balance of the 2000 crop, Jackpot destined for stockfeed, was eventually harvested on 8 May, three weeks after this years crop was sown.

Mr Neath had been able to harvest the bulk of his 14ha (35 acres) of sugar beet before Christmas for the Kidderminster factory.

“We just about completed our quota. But we never managed to get near the last six acres,” he said.

“We are on quite heavy soil here and it was simply waterlogged.”

“It was easy to lift because we waited until it was dry. Conditions were perfect,” said Mr Neath.

At an estimated 62-69t/ha (25-28t/acre), the spring lifting outyielded his main crop.

“It carried on growing well. We got about 23t/acre from the rest of the crop we tend to start digging quite early,” he said.

At 14/t the stockfeed crop is unlikely to cover costs, but was better harvested than left, said Mr Neath.

“It had to be dug or disced and ploughed, otherwise it would have seeded and we would have had a mess.”

He added: “I only wish I had been able to get it three weeks earlier, before the grass started growing, when it would have been worth quite a bit more.”

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