Bumper sugar beet crop boosts Andrew Blenkirons cash flow


I hope that Santa was good to you, he certainly gave the grain and oilseeds market a little lift. My Christmas present was to be granted professional member status of the Institute of Agricultural Management.

After being a member of this fantastic organisation for a good long time, I am thrilled that it has now managed to set up some form of professional structure, so now I can get points for going to all of the shows and events. Hopefully, that will include the first rate Oxford Farming Conference which got 2012 off to a flying start, where there was wide and varied debate on the issues likely to affect us as farmers. It was also an opportunity to catch up with many long lost friends and make a few new ones.

Back at home, sugar beet is almost at quota and there is 15% of the area still to lift. In classic style the answer as to whether to lift and clamp or to leave in the ground was to do half of each. Thankfully, now that we’ve got to January and with no more wheat in the barn to sell, the extra sugar income will help make up for some of last year’s cereal shortfall.

After one of the driest years on record what we could do with now is one of the wettest Januarys to get some water into the desperately dry rivers, thus allowing us to start filling our winter storage reservoir. Of course if they weren’t pulling quite so much water to keep all of the people, their cars and clothes clean in the south east then there might just be a bit more for us. It is ridiculous when you think of the massive amount of oversupply (flooding) a couple of hundred miles up in the North and West, why not move some of it around? I am sure that it could be done without needing too much energy. Who knows, it might even generate some.

Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship.

For more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers, see our dedicated page.

Futures contracts: farmer views wanted

Do you use futures and options markets to help you manage risk? Or are you interested to learn more? Farmers Weekly is keen to find out the extent to which UK farmers use these markets. Complete our survey here.

Take the survey

Futures markets and commodity risk management online course:

  • Risk management strategies for a more predictable financial performance
  • Educated conversations when collaborating with your advisors
  • Negotiate better prices with your grain merchants

View course

Using contractors saves you time and money. Now you can book, track and pay all in one place. Register for early access today.

Find out more
See more