THE SMALLEST areas of sugar beet will have to be managed even more ruthlessly to maintain profitable production under the proposed reforms, says The Arable Group’s Martin Lainsbury.
“Every tonne of excess production is diluting profit. Growers have to reduce the area and grow the crop as effectively as can to get the maximum yield from the smallest possible area.”
A typical crop costs £1000/ha to grow, he noted. “For every hectare less you grow [and still meet quota], that is £1000 in your pocket plus what the income from what you grow on that land instead.”
Growers historically have over-produced so they don’t fall short on quota, he pointed out.
“But there is no immediate penalty if you do fall short – you just have to make sure you meet it next year. How tight [to quota] growers dare go, depends on their attitude to risk.”