Winner of the inaugural Beet Yield Challenge (BYC) was Will Jones of Salle Farms, Norfolk, achieving 97 per cent of potential yield.
Presented at the Royal Norfolk Show by British Beet Research Organisation’s (BBRO) Dr Simon Bowen, the BYC saw the top four farms - Salle Farms, J S Means, D Mawer & Son, and Hitchcock Farms achieve more than 80 per cent of their yield potential.
Dr Bowen said: “The 2017-18 crop was tremendous, with record yields for most growers but what stood out with all four finalists was their attention to detail, not just growing the crop but pushing for more yield through good crop management.”
The BYC was primarily designed to help improve understanding of some of the key drivers of yield in sugar beet. It compares commercial yields to an estimate of potential yield of the sugar beet crop, accounting for varying yield potential of different soil types and allowing for benchmarking against other crops, according to BBRO.
The average yield of fields entered was 97t/ha (39t/acre), realising on average 73 per cent of the estimated potential yield.
According to BBRO, the cold and dry start to the season made final seedbed preparation difficult and to some extent masked effect of drilling date on yields. However, warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine and rainfall in June drove some exceptional canopy development which continued through July, August and into September. A relatively warm autumn then allowed good growth in later harvested crops leading to a record year.
A full report of the BYC 2017-18 results can be found at bbro.co.uk/on-farm/beet-yield-challenge/