Sugar factories break records

EAST Anglian sugar factories have broken records as the latest campaign swung into top gear.

The Bury St Edmunds British Sugar factory has set a record for daily slice as the 24-hour, seven-days-a-week campaign continues.

The Cantley factory, near Acle, has set two records – one for daily sugar production – and another for achieving a daily slice of more than 10,000 tonnes.

Growers are also delivering very high, if not record, levels of adjusted sugars as crops have continued to grow since the start of the processing campaign.

Beet quality was also good, with very low dirt tares, high sugar content and high purity beet, said Colm McKay, British Sugar’s Peterborough-based director of agriculture.

“It is ideal. All in all, very good progress to date,” he said.

Growers and hauliers have also been delivering beet with very low dirt tares, which has helped the rate of processing at the four factories across eastern England.

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British Sugar, which also processes beet at its factory at Wissington, near Downham Market, started the annual processing campaign in mid-September.

The factory, the world’s largest processor of beet, has been regularly achieving a daily slice of 19,000 tonnes and sugar content has been regularly in the high 18s.

Mr McKay said that Cantley has done more than 10,000 tonnes on several occasions at high sugar content and also breaking sugar content records. “Growers should be able to see that in the amount of adjusted beet that they’re delivering,” he added.

Returns to growers have shown that factory average sugar content has continued to rise since early September, when Wissington recored averages of about 18% and rising gradually to close to 19%.

At Cantley, average sugars have risen from about 17.5% to around 19% and similar returns have been recorded for growers In the Bury factory area.

The percentage of dirt tares, or soil delivered with beet, has been very low and running at about 2.75 to 3pc or almost two percentage points below averages in the last five years.