Simon Fisher is British Sugars technical services manager with responsibility for agricultural information transfer. This includes the transfer of results from SBREF research, which he handles along with Mike May of IACR-Brooms Barn.
Mr Fisher comments: "Successful beet growers tend to be those who tap into the sources of information available and select the techniques most appropriate to their situation. An attitude of continuous improvement, like that demonstrated here, can really make a difference.
"The yield responses to irrigation recorded by this grower – about 5t/ha 25mm on his lightest fields – are high but not unique. In trial situations we see responses as high as 7.5t/ha 25mm.
"Mr Burtt seems to stick to the basic rules of sugar beet irrigation – not too much applied in any one pass, and not too much ahead of rainfall.
"There is no late irrigating here but, for example, in East Anglia this year others have been watering to ease early harvesting. Harvester losses of up to 8.5t/ha have been limited to just 2t/ha.
"The second year of the BS quality harvesting programme has again demonstrated the difference a harvester thats well set up and driven by a conscientious operator can make. Those in the top 20% band recovered an extra 3.87t/ha over those in the bottom 20% – thats the equivalent of £116/ha at a contract price of £30/t."