Growers plan to cut beet sowing

By Farmers Weekly staff

LOW price prospects for C-beet and bumper yields are prompting some sugar beet growers to reconsider sowing intentions. But British Sugar urges growers not to go too far.

“We had all our A and B quota delivered by Christmas,” says Lincolnshire grower and winner of the Farmers Weekly/Dow AgroSciences Sugar Beet Challenge Bill Davey

At 68t/ha (27.5t/acre), yields are probably his best ever. “It is the crop of the year so far,” he says.

But he is less than thrilled by the prospect of receiving about 3/t net of haulage and late delivery bonuses for the one-third of his crop which looks set to fall into C-beet.

A reduction in the area is on the cards.

Growers are not contractually obliged to inform BS of changes in area, says director of agriculture Chris Carter.

“But it is sensible to have a word with the area manager and explain what you are planning to do.

“The wise position is to still plant enough to at least make contract tonnage given seasonal yield fluctuation.”

Grower Richard Esam also expects final tonnage to be 150% of quota following estimated yields of 67t/ha (27t/acre), the best yield from his Nottinghamshire farm since the early 1980s.

But no area cut is planned. “We cant rely on a spring like we had last year. We grow for 20t/acre.”

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