Farmer Focus: Sugar beet yields down by a third

Sugar beet continues to be lifted as part of the campaign to clear the fields over the winter months, and so far it has lived up to my limited expectations – very much following the theme of the year – where crops have yielded about two thirds of average.

So at 50t/ha the rest of the crop will have to go some to get near to the budgeted figure of 75t/ha.

I always reckon that if you manage your expectations you will never be disappointed, something that I am frequently criticised for – but it certainly avoids being disappointed all of the time.

Thankfully – well, at least for British Sugar and some other growers – there are reports of good yields on different land and to be fair the crop is trying hard to make up for the lost summer of growth.

Autumn cereals, on the other hand, are very much living up to high expectations. Establishing well in beautiful warm seed-beds, all sprayed and with no slugs. they should be able to be put to bed for the winter.

See also: Video: Sugar beet yields bounce back from summer drought

Enough rain

The limiting factor for these crops is, of course, whether it is actually going to rain enough to keep them growing into the spring.

That’s not to mention enough to boost river flows to enable us to fill the reservoirs through the winter.

It’s a little early to tell, but it does rather look like we are back in the same place that we were at the end of 2011, a dry summer followed by no rain in the winter.

That caused us so many issues it’s hard to imagine that we are there again so soon. Thankfully, this time we do still have some water in the new reservoir.

Now that the autumn has rolled on it has been all go with cattle work, pregnancy testing cows, winter housing youngstock and winning loads of awards at the Red Poll Cattle Society East Region presentation day for the herd that has looked so well throughout this summer.

It is amazing what livestock can do on a bit of very dry grass and lots of sunshine. It does of course pay to have a good judge in these circumstances, and as they say in showing circles, the judge is always right! Well that’s what they tell me, anyway.