Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 6°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

Corrie CCTV Screen

An abandoned van has been seized by police searching for missing RAF Honington serviceman Corrie McKeague, aged 23.

Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue team search for Corrie McKeague just outside Troston Slades Covert. Photo Mark Westley

Suffolk police officers are attempting to trace a group seen talking to Corrie McKeague at a pizza takeaway on the night of his disappearance.

Archie Joe Darby and Daniel-Jay Darby. Archie, four months, was killed and Daniel-Jay was seriously injured after being bitten by a dog at their Colchester home.

A four-month-old baby was snatched from his mother’s arms by the family dog and mauled to death, an inquest has heard.

Police were called to the crash

A man in his 30s is in hospital with serious injuries after a crash Stowmarket last night.

Ron Harris outside the first home he shared with his wife, Nina, at Shingle Street before the Second World War. Photo supplied for Life on the Edge by the Harris family.

It’s a place with tragedy and mystery in its past – but as many stories of resilient determination to build a community amid its wild and isolated environment.

Corrie McKeague's last ever sighting at 3.24am September 24 2016. CCTV still from Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds. The building in the background is the edge of Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre

A video of the last ever sighting of Corrie McKeague has been released, as four weeks pass with no new leads.

Stock image of the A14 near Kentford.

Two speeding motorists who admitted driving at 130mph in Suffolk have been disqualified from driving.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists

Don't miss


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24