East Anglia: Sugar beet growers celebrate record average yields

British Sugar says UK sugar beet growers have once again achieved record average yields.

It is the fourth time records have been broken in seven years, said the company, which has plants in various parts of East Anglia, including at Bury St Edmunds. The sector employs 13,000 staff across eastern England.

The previous record set in 2009 was 71.7 tonnes of sugar beet per hectare, but growers have surpassed this to reach 75.6 tonnes a hectare.

Each year the UK sugar beet industry jointly invests over �1.8million in research, development and industry education with the aim of helping growers to increase their competitiveness and profitability while simultaneously promoting sustainable and environmentally responsible practices.

The industry’s research and development programme, which is operated by the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO), focuses on increasing productivity, reducing inputs and maximising the environmental benefits obtained by including sugar beet in the arable crop rotation.

Colm McKay, British Sugar’s agriculture director, said: “Achieving this new record yield is a fantastic achievement for our growers and again shows how by working in partnership British Sugar, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and growers are able to deliver real and sustainable efficiency gains.

“UK sugar beet yields have risen dramatically in recent years and the new BBRO 4x4 yield programme is very much focused on continuing that trend, taking yield to new record levels. The new record is fitting start to the British beet industry’s centenary year.”