British Sugar sees bigger beet crop this season

British Sugar expects this season’s beet crop to be well ahead of last year and is upbeat about its ability to process the higher volumes.

Four of the processor’s UK beet factories are set to start opening later this week taking about 7.5m tonnes of beet from 3,600 growers for its 2014-15 processing campaign.

“The current crop for the 2014-15 campaign has made very good progress with early estimates suggesting that it could be well ahead of that produced this year,” the group said.

See also: Sugar firm predicts bumper harvest for beet farmers

British Sugar produced 1.32m tonnes of sugar from the 2013 harvested crop compared with 1.15m tonnes the previous year.

The first factories to open will be Newark, Nottinghamshire, and Wissington, west Norfolk, on 12 September, followed by Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on 15 September and then Cantley, east Norfolk, on 17 September.

Forecasts for a higher yielding beet crop comes after a 24% price reduction was announced earlier this summer for the 2015 harvested crop.

The estimate from British Sugar came as its parent company Associated British Foods released a trading statement ahead of the end of its financial year on 13 September.

The group warned that profits from its worldwide sugar operations, including Britain, China, and Africa, will be £20m lower due to falling European sugar prices, lower volumes in China and current fluctuations.

AB Sugar, the group’s sugar division, has already announced a £20m charge against profits to cover cost reductions in its global sugar business which are ongoing.

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