The NFU and British Sugar announced a one-year beet contract from 2022, as well as the continuation of virus yellows assurance schemes and futures-linked contracts.
The one-year contract for 2022 will pay a fixed price of £27/adjusted tonne. Current multi-year contracted growers will have the option to upgrade to a fixed price of £25/adjusted tonne by contracting for an additional year.
Prices are on a zero-crown tare basis, meaning growers are paid for the entire roots of the beet they deliver, while a separate market-linked bonus will not be available.
NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said: “Following another difficult negotiation, we have finally managed to agree terms with British Sugar. The substantial increase in the one-year contract price reflects the increased costs and risk sugar beet growers now face and recognises the fact that sugar beet must offer returns comparable with alternatives.”
The continuation of the virus yellows assurance scheme and futures-linked variable-priced contract offer growers some certainty, including the ability to make their own pricing decisions for a portion of their contract, said Mr Sly.
After this year’s successful pilot of the variable-price scheme, all growers will now have the option to allocate up to 10% of their tonnage to this type of contract.
“This contract offers both growers and the processor the potential to lock in attractive prices, meaning all parties can benefit. Other EU countries are starting to follow our lead on this, and I am sure this type of contract will become increasingly common,” said Mr Sly.
Also new for this year is a local premium for all growers within a 28-mile distance from their nearest factory.
Peter Watson, British Sugar agriculture director, said: “We are pleased to be able to share the agreed contract prices with growers after a long negotiation.
“Together with our virus yellows assurance scheme, the new local premium and the futures-linked contract, we believe the contracts offer a competitive package for growers.”