It has been a disappointing start to sugar beet harvest for Lincolnshire grower, Tilly Ireland who began lifting the 280-hectare crop slightly early after the Newark factory opened on September 22.
She says: “Yields are averaging between 57-65 tonnes/ha which are well down. Our five-year average is 86 t/ha. Sugars are very low to normal, struggling to average 16 per cent.”
However, lifting conditions are good, with some moisture meaning the beet is lifting clean.
Ms Ireland adds: “We swapped a lot of the heavy land drilling from barley to sugar beet this year due to the wet weather. We have started lifting to get land cleared to begin autumn drilling.
“It has been a difficult season with heavy rainfall followed by the drought. Weed control has been hard with herbicides not working as well. With the addition of the virus yellows pressure it has made it hard.”