Arable Farmer Focus: Beet’s ‘get rich quick scheme’ for outgoers, says Richard Cobbald

As a typical Englishman, I shall continue the time honoured ritual of starting with a reference to the weather.

Of course whatever it is doing, I, as a farmer, want it to do the opposite, and now is no exception. Please bring on some rain before harvest to at least give our sugar beet a fighting chance, and the partridges a bit more cover than they have right now.

On the plus side, wheat prices have firmed on the back of the weather rather than currency, so maybe in a year of average yields we may be able to sell it quite well. Shame they didn’t work out next season’s sugar beet price a bit later.

On the subject of sugar beet, the outgoer’s scheme seems to have stalled slightly after initial trading of £30/t plus the British Sugar payment. Sellers are now waiting to see how far buyers are prepared to go.

I wish I had been offered a chance to be a seller, because I don’t wish to spend the silly money on tonnage to replace the temporary tonnage I added for this season. Without that though it hardly makes sugar beet worth growing as the area is so small compared with farm size.

Perhaps the scheme should be called: “If British Sugar don’t like your yields or distance from factory, get rich quick scheme”. What was wrong with the temporary tonnage scheme? Growers like myself were happy to grow the crop and would have liked more. But I think they will have to release more tonnage as temporary or to be sold in the scheme to achieve the tonnage they want. I shall watch with interest.

• For more columns from other Arable Farmer Focus writers

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