Sugar beet yield surprises

Wheat is emerging well, but is still under pressure from slugs on the heavy land, and travelling conditions on these fields would not allow any spraying or re-drilling if necessary. Technically we are drilled up to date, but will shortly have the last potato land cleared which will, hopefully, be drilled straight away.

The oilseeds are looking reasonable despite drilling later than I would have liked, and I am managing to keep up to date with crop treatments, snatching occasional weather windows, and making good use of the wide flotation tyres on the sprayer.

Potato harvesting has continued to be a stop-start affair, and is ongoing on one field. Yields, while not record-breaking, are reasonable, but the issue is getting them lifted and then the challenge of storage following such a wet season.

I have dared to start doing an assessment of this year’s crops and prices, and while I have not reached a conclusion with some crops unsold, and even still in the ground, we will be down on last year with yield by quite a bit. Hopefully the higher prices will compensate to some extent.

Interestingly, the spring beans are looking to have done very well, direct drilled into over-wintered stubbles in our Stewardship agreement. Grown cheaply and harvested dry in September, the decent yield, quality and likely price might make them the highest margin combinable crop on the farm this year.

Our first batch of sugar beet has done well. Lifted in mid-October, the sugar percentage averaged 18.21%, which helped to give a yield of over 70 t/ha, with an average dirt tare of 3.2%. When considering the late start for the crop, subsequent pest damage and lack of summer sunshine, this is quite remarkable.

We still have some to lift in the first week of December, so nothing is certain yet, but it has been nice to have one crop yield better than anticipated this year.

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