British Sugar has increased its estimate for the 2013 beet crop to 1.3m tonnes of sugar production, with the harvest campaign now virtually complete.
The beet processor said good growing conditions through the mild winter resulted in crops growing into 2014, and the harvest has shown good beet quality and high sugar content.
This pushes up the estimate from the 1.28m tonnes given in mid-January and means the harvest is now 13% above the 1.15m tonne crop from the 2012 harvest, while just below the 2011 crop of 1.32m tonnes
The group reported all four of its factories at Bury St Edmunds, Cantley, Wissington and Newark have operated well.
Currently, the UK has an EU quota of 1.06m tonnes of sugar, with the equivalent of 1m tonnes made into bioethanol at its Wissington plant, with the remainder exported.
Some 3,600 sugar beet growers in England produce about 7.5m tonnes of sugar beet for processing annually.
The harvest update came as British Sugar’s parent company Associated British Foods gave a trading update for its financial half-year to 1 March, with the results published on 23 April.
Overall, the group said sales and profits from its worldwide sugar operations, which include Britain, Spain, Africa and China, will be substantially lower than last year, hit largely by a fall in EU and world sugar prices.