Sugar beet battle lines

Who will be growing beet in 2009? When the price drops to just £17.50 a tonne, it’s hard to believe there are many growers who’ll find a margin at that price.

But British Sugar says it’s confident it will be able to secure the beet it needs albeit from a smaller base of more efficient growers.

So will you be still growing in 2009? Judging by the mood at the NFU sugar briefing at the Cereals event there are few who see a viable future at the EU minimum price…British Sugar must pay them more, they believe.

So who’s calling whose bluff? Will growers stay united and refuse to sign contracts until British Sugar give some ground, or will BS hold out believing ultimately that they’ll get the beet they need? Monopoly buyer against monopoly supplier? Who has the bigger resolve?

The battleground is clear. But are growers really prepared to go on ‘strike’? And if they do, will British Sugar find enough ‘scabs’ to cross the picket line?

It’s crunch time but if I was a bookie, I’d offer only short odds on the minimum price…frustrating as that is.

What do you think?

Other Cereal Blogs

Biofuels buzz grows at Cereals 2006 – Andrew Blake
Oilseed rape area likely to rise over 10% – Paul Spackman
Trial plots at Cereals: Opportunity or danger? – Mike Abram

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