Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: Agreed price for 2015/16 sugar beet drop drops 24% to £24 a tonne

10:24 23 July 2014

Sugar beet prices have fallen.

Sugar beet prices have fallen.


UK sugar beet prices are set to fall significantly in 2015/16 against a backdrop of falling commodity prices and high sugar stock levels.


British Sugar, which has plants throughout East Anglia including at Bury St Edmunds, and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have agreed a price of £24 a tonne for contract beet - 24% below the current price of £31.67 a tonne.

Farmers are being told that commodity prices have fallen significantly from the peak levels of 12 months ago, including in the European Union. Following a larger-than-anticipated crop last campaign and very good prospects for the crop in the ground now, sugar stock levels have reached an unprecedented high which means the area of planting needs to be reduced for the 2015/2016 campaign.

But the deal between British Sugar and the NFU includes an enhanced transport allowance, which is worth around £1 a tonne, and the company is offering growers a contract holiday, so they can grow less than their quota while still retaining full entitlement for 2016/2017.

The NFU and British Sugar have also agreed to work together on further improving the efficiency of the sugar beet delivery supply chain, and to explore whether a beet pricing option that is linked to the sugar market place could be available to growers in the future. This work should be completed by the end of the year.

“EU sugar sales prices have been falling as a consequence of the exceptional measures taken by the European Commission to increase the availability of quota sugar in the EU, combined with heightened competitor activity as the industry looks ahead to the reform of the sugar regime at the end of September 2017,” a letter to growers explains.

“In light of the extremely competitive market place it is essential we all work together to ensure a sustainable and competitive future for the industry.”

The price achieved is described as “providing a good gross margin for those achieving an average yield, in comparison with alternative crops

at current prices”.

The price for surplus beet will not be announced until nearer to sowing but the letter warns that due to the current levels of excess stock, the surplus beet price is expected to be “significantly below” the price levels in recent seasons.

NFU sugar board chair William Martin, who farms at Littleport, near Ely, and supplies British Sugar’s Wissington plant, described it as “a fair deal”.

He admitted it was a big drop, but pointed out it was in line with the falls seen in other crops.

“We try and be as forceful as we can, but we can’t push water uphill and if markets are against us there’s little we can do,” he said. “Over the last five years it has been below this price only once four years ago. This is the bottom end of the range, but it’s within the range.”

But he added that the crop ‘holiday’ option and transport deal were important concessions for growers. The deal for this year’s crop was reached at a time when commodity prices were much firmer and other cropping options more attractive, he pointed out. The fact that British Sugar was having to cut the national crop by 20% was also an important factor, he added.

He expected that overall growers would be disappointed but realistic about the price drop.

“What I would expect is overall realism. Disappointment that we have not managed to buck the trend more, but realism that this does represent where things are,” he said. “We live in a market economy and this is the market functioning, unfortunately.”



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Ben Gummer and Mark Pendlington at Ipswich rail station.

Campaigners seeking to improve rail services between East Anglia and London have insisted that the new report into infrastructure is good for the region – because it makes little reference to the route.

Childhood obesity figures revealed

One in 10 Suffolk children will become obese or overweight before leaving primary school, new figures have revealed.

Cannabis found at a house in Powling Road in Ipswich.

An illegal immigrant is facing a jail term after police found nearly 400 plants and seedlings at a cannabis factory set up in an east Ipswich house.

John Hobson, 65, of Mill Road in Colchester, who died following the crash

The partner of a man, who died following a crash in west Suffolk, has paid tribute to her “one true love”.

Alison Wheeler and Tony Brown.

Suffolk’s libraries are facing budget cuts of more than 20% over the next two years – but their chairman has pledged that no branches will be closed.

A Shadwell road is partially blocked after a crash this morning.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service dealing with crane fire on M25. Photo: David Stubbs

Motorists travelling further afield are being urged to avoid the M25 this morning after a lorry fire.

The official opening of the ice rink and Winter Wonderland in Colchester Castle Park. Deputy Mayor, Julie Young and Ben Payne open the ice rink.

Organisers of Colchester’s Winter Wonderland and ice rink hope they will see tens of thousands of people visit the it over the festive period after it opened yesterday.

Orwell Bridge

A man has died after falling from the Orwell Bridge.

Annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

The annual Christmas Fayre will see around 120,000 people descend on Bury St Edmunds over four days.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24