Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°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.

Archant

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

shares

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.”

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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

Libby Brown headteacher at Kyson Primary, Woodbridge.

A board of school governors has launched a fierce attack on Suffolk County Council, accusing it of putting their headteacher through a “painful and protracted ordeal” – stopping her from working for almost two months.

Damaged bridge at Blunts Hall between Witham and Hatfield Peverel. Picture: Network Rail

Many services travelling between Ipswich, north Essex and London faced disruption this morning as emergency repair work on a bridge at Hatfield Peverel continues.

Barclays bank on Princes Street in Ipswich.

Two more men have been arrested after a fight which ended up closing Barclays bank in Ipswich town centre.

Carrie Willis is pictured at Ipswich Art School with the jug.

The mother of the little boy who accidentally broke a puzzle jug in a Christchurch Mansion mishap has contacted museums service staff in Ipswich to tell them how happy he is that the historic piece has been repaired.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court in Ipswich was evacuated for an hour today after a man was seen acting suspiciously in the car park.

Large crowds during the Maverick Festival

Maverick Festival director Paul Spencer says people have accused him of “making a deal with the devil” when it comes to the weather on the first weekend of July.

The A14

A caravan has overturned on the westbound carriageway of the A14 near Stowmarket.

Tom Odell performs at Thetford High lodge in the last of the Forestry commission summer open air concerts of 2015 - Lee Blanchflower

Singer-songwriter Tom Odell took to the stage at Thetford Forest last night to play out the final show of the Forest Live concert series in Suffolk.

Mandy Hearle launches her Ping project

A fundraiser who last year completed a daily dare day for global emergency medical aid has taken on an equally ambitious venture for 2015.

At Ipswich Hospital, the number of days lost due to ill-health fell from 25,790 in 2013/14 to 23,547 in 2014/15  a fall of 9% in a year.

The number of days lost due to staff sickness at Suffolk’s two main hospitals has fallen over the last year.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages