Early promise for beet

SUGAR BEET crops look to be on target for good yields and sugar contents this season, according to pre-campaign sample results from British Sugar.

Latest results from a small sample of the UK crop found average root weights of 488g, 20g up on the five year average and above last year’s 475g.

Sugar contents were also high, averaging 15.4%, which is above last year’s good 15.14% and over 1% above the five year average.

“Although it is still very early days, the crop is looking on target for very good yields,” commented British Sugar’s Paul Bee.

Crops were generally drilled in good time and there has been sufficient rainfall throughout the main growing period, he said.

But while weed control has been fairly good, there is a large number of (non-bolting) weed beet in crops, which need to be pulled out ASAP, or controlled by weed wiping or cutting, he advised.

Some mildew is now being found in crops and he advises growers of all but the earliest-lifted crops to use a protectant fungicide with activity against mildew, rust and ramularia.

Mr Bee is also reminding growers to return their contract offer for the 2006 crop and pay attention to clamp and machinery cleaning in preparation for the coming harvest, which is likely to begin in mid-end September.Beet UK logo

Beet growers will be able to find out about all aspects of sugar beet production including agronomy, industry policy and crop profitability, as well as see harvesting demonstrations at the Beet UK event on Oct 19.

The event is being hosted at Boothby Heath farm, alongside the A15 just south of Lincoln. More information can be found at www.beetuk.co.uk


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