We share the research results with sugar beet growers through our publications and at our events. Recent rains have only added to farmers’ woes as they attempt to harvest their normally resilient beet crops. The rain had also diluted the sugars, bringing them down to about 16/16% compared to about 18% for his first beet to arrive at the factory. A comprehensive guide to growing sugar beet in the UK. Regular updates throughout the growing season. In light of the COVID-19 situation we may not be able to deliver face to face events again this winter, however we will still be delivering key information via virtual events, videos, podcast and other publications. As Simon will explain there is still a bit of yield to be recouped and as the saying goes ‘the only way is up’. A sopping wet winter was followed by a spring with virtually no rain, creating extremely difficult conditions for planting and establishing crops. “Damage to fields and difficulty creating seedbeds for the subsequent wheat crop has added to our woes with a significant proportion of the beet area lifted still undrilled,” he added. His 40ha crop had been hit “reasonably hard” by virus yellows and he would be “delighted” to achieve an average harvest. Stephen Aldis also joins us to talk about the importance of on-farm hygiene in combatting virus and disease, whilst Prof mark Stevens gives us an update on the prevalence of cercospora. Peter Watson, agriculture director at British Sugar, said all four of the company’s factories were now successfully up and running – but admitted there were challenges this year. John Collen of Gislesham near Lowestoft said he had lifted about 300 acres of his beet crop which had been “very wet and extremely difficult to harvest”, with the soil “taking a beating”. Nearly every field had virus yellows, he added, and this had noticeably increased since last year – the first without neonicotinoids. How do Tier 1 areas like Cornwall compare to Suffolk? As sugar beet harvesting commences around the Newark factory we visit contractor and grower Graham Liddle for an insight into his 2020 harvesting campaign. An insight into the world of sugar beet production in the UK, hosted by the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO). Stephen Rash, of Wortham, near Diss, said he had been hoping to start harvest but that had been delayed because of the weather. We will also be touching on the current harvest results and how the lifting of poor crops first has impacted on overall sugars across most factories. Yields were in the low 16% area and yields were “OK”, he added. Our sugar beet page aims to help you grow a more profitable crop in the face of rising inputs. Going forward he foresaw a host of problems with the crop, including lower prices, wetter autumns and winters followed by dry springs and summers, the loss of agronochemicals – and a rise in pests and disease. Keep up to date with BBRO activities and your opportunities to find out more with our news, events, developments and other information. Guidance on lifting priority, crowning, clamps and much more in this harvest and storage autumn edition. John Taylor, who farms at Woodbridge, said he had harvested about half of his beet crop with the first of it lifted at the end of September yielding just 60t/ha and with sugars at about 16.5%. “We have relied upon high yields to compensate for lower prices to help maintain respectable gross margins for sugar beet but this year looks likely to be a disappointing one sadly.”. How sugar is made “We were hoping to do some this week but the weather had gone against us.”. He had heard reports locally of farmers bringing in 60t/ha so the average on his first field of 73t/ha was “respectable”. Big is not always better which is why the BBRO are utilising small box trials for a number of projects. Terrible weather and disease has left at least one Suffolk farmer considering the future of the crop on his farm. A combination of virus yellows infections and poor growing conditions in the spring have devastated sugar beet yields for some growers, particularly in the Wissington factory region. The most important requirement is the soil must contain a large supply of nutrients, be rich in humus, and be able to contain a great deal of moisture. “Areas of virus yellows have also contributed to the poorer yields and if we cannot secure a reversal of the neonicotinoid ban and/or a hard winter to kill the aphids then prospects for future years look increasingly bleak too. These root vegetables, which are related to both standard beetroot and Swiss chard, are typically cultivated for sugar production -- in fact, sugar beet sugar makes up 20 percent of the world’s sugar. “It’s been a particularly difficult year for sugar beet with a dry spring virus yellows and now a very wet autumn,” he said. “Recent high rainfall has however hampered harvesting and subsequent deliveries to factories, meaning the factories are running below maximum capacity in the short term,” he said. UK beet sugar production is highly efficient1, and is grown by 3,000 growers supplying about 8 million tonnes of crop annually. With the soggy conditions he has not been able to establish next year’s crop. This makes the country the fifth largest producer of sugar … You might be accustomed to the ruby red hue of standard beetroot-- or even the yellow of its golden sibling-- but it’s less likely that you've encountered the white-colored sugar beet.

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