70t/ha needed for profitable beet after reform, says British Sugar

Sugar-beet growers need to be aiming for average yields of 70t/ha within the next four years to stand a better chance of long-term profitability under a reformed sugar regime.

That is the warning from British Sugar’s Robin Limb, who has been seconded to run a new national yield programme, “The 70t initiative”.

“Since 1995 yields have improved by about one adjusted tonne/ha per year to around 60t/ha this year.

This progress is good, but may not be enough to keep the average grower happy with margins under the new sugar regime.

“We need to stretch it and raise yields by three adjusted tonnes/ha per year over the next four years.

It’s a significant challenge, but the crop potential is there and at least 20% of UK growers can achieve this now.”

The 70-tonne initiative aims to stimulate industry debate on how to achieve these yields and focuses on four key areas.

It will involve a number of factory meetings, six BBRO events around the country in January, summer open days as well as national shows.

paul spackman@rbi.co.uk