Belated early delivery allowance frustrates sugar beet growers

Sugar beet growers have expressed their frustration that many will not be able to take advantage of new early delivery allowances (EDAs) to factories, due to the lateness of the announcement by British Sugar (BS).

Growers were only made aware of the introduction of an EDA for 2023 on Wednesday (30 August) – just five days before the first factory, Bury St Edmunds, is due to open, and 12 days before the next one, Newark, starts processing beet.

See also: British Sugar offers £3,000/ha to encourage early beet deliveries

According to the schedule, the EDA will start off at £4/t for beet delivered between 4 and 11 September, and then decrease by 20p a day until 30 September, when it will be worth just 20p/t (see table).

This means that, by the time the Wissington factory opens on 21 September, the EDA will have fallen in value to £2/t, while growers supplying Cantley, which opens on 9 October, will not qualify for any allowance.  

Growers on the new special early beet contract to Bury St Edmunds, announced in March and paying a premium on some 1,400ha of beet, will not be entitled to the new EDA.


“Introducing the EDA will help ensure we have more beet in our factories earlier in the campaign, at the same time as providing greater flexibility and opportunities for growers who wish to deliver earlier,” said BS agriculture director Daniel Green.

But NFU Sugar board chair Michael Sly says the lateness of the announcement will undermine its effectiveness in attracting early deliveries to factories.

“We have been calling for the reintroduction of early delivery allowances for years, so we should be pretty pleased about their introduction now,” he told Farmers Weekly.

“But we should have been informed of this weeks, if not months ago. The fact is, some growers will have recently applied a spray to their crops, so won’t be able to lift it for at least a month.

“Others may not have carried out routine maintenance of their kit, while others may have allowed staff to take leave, unaware that an early delivery allowance was coming. And some hauliers will already be committed to other work.

“As a result of all this, BS has effectivey restricted the supply of early beet that could have been there.”

NFU Sugar also complains it was not given the opportunity to agree the details of the EDA before the BS announcement.

“As discussions for 2024 are ongoing, it is essential British Sugar executes the EDA in future contracts in a timely, planned and appropriate manner, so that all parties can reap the benefits,” said a statement.

Factory opening dates

Bury St Edmunds 4 September
Newark 11 September
Wissington 21 September
Cantley 9 October

Early delivery allowances




4 September-11 September £4.00/t
12 September £.3.80/t
13 September £3.60/t
14 September £3.40/t
15 September £3.20/t
16 September £3.00/t
17 September £2.80/t
18 September £2.60/t
19 September £2.40/t
20 September £2.20/t
21 September £2.00/t
22 September £1.80/t
23 September £1.60/t
24 September £1.40/t
25 September £1.20/t
26 September £1.00/t
27 September 80p/t
28 September 60p/t
29 September 40p/t
30 September 20p/t

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