British Sugar cuts 2016-17 farmer beet price by 15%

Sugar beet growers will receive a reduced price of £20.30/t for their 2016-17 contract tonnage, processor British Sugar has announced.

The £3.70 price cut from the 2015-16 campaign’s £24 comes after a period of contract negotiations between British Sugar and NFU Sugar.

See also: 6 key questions answered on new sugar beet disease

The price of £20.30/t applies to both contract beet and industrial beet used for biofuel.

An announcement on the surplus beet price will be announced later in the year.

Volume

A global and domestic sugar surplus forced British Sugar to slash contract tonnage by 20% for the 2015-16 campaign, with 11% abandoned voluntarily and 9% enforced elsewhere.

Contract performance rules were also relaxed to discourage over production, with growers obliged to fulfil 90% of their contracted tonnage averaged over two seasons, rather than 95%, before receiving a penalty.

“The package we have negotiated should enable beet to compete in rotations on farm and builds for a successful future for both growers and the UK sugar beet industry.”
William Martin, NFU

There will be no restrictions on contract tonnage for 2016-17, but growers can opt to grow any proportion they wish, from 0-100% of their contract, without any consequences for their 2017-18 contract.

Performance rules will also return to the usual 95% contract fulfilment over 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Haulage

British Sugar also announced that transport allowance would be calculated from the Industry Haulage Scheme costs, including cleaning and loading of beet.

There will be no additional payment in 2016-17 for those in the Industry Haulage Scheme, which allows British Sugar to collect beet direct from farm.

On reaching agreement, British Sugar’s agriculture director Colm McKay said: “We believe our agreement [with NFU sugar] sets a firm foundation for the future and demonstrates a commitment to work together to ensure our industry can compete in an increasingly competitive market place.”

NFU sugar board chairman William Martin added: “The package we have negotiated should enable beet to compete in rotations on farm and builds for a successful future for both growers and the UK sugar beet industry.”

Growers should receive their contract offers online or by post in the week commencing 6 July.

If they have any questions regarding the contract announcement they can contact the NFU Sugar helpline on 03700 661 974.

NOVEMBER
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