Sugar beet – yield, prices and prospects

The dry weather has meant germination has been patchy in many spring crops, and sugar beet is no exception. Some crops have been re-planted, but the number of these is very small. Most growers have been hoping that some rain (which has now arrived) will be enough to recover the situation.

Whilst many beet crops are undoubtedly behind where they might normally be, there is still enough of the growing season left that overall yields will not necessarily be affected.  The final 2016 crop yield was 71.4 adjusted tonnes per Ha.

The contracted area for the 2017 has grown significantly.  After two years in 2015 and 2016 where the total area was down to 80,000 hectares, this year’s plantings are up to 105,000 hectares.  British Sugar has offered extra Contract Tonnage Entitlement (CTE) as its own stocks have reduced whilst EU and world markets have improved.

On the subject of markets, the EU sugar price was around €495 per tonne up to March this year (EU price reporting is a little slow).  This is above the €475 per tonne threshold level for bonuses to be paid under the new 2017 pricing mechanism.  However, since the start of the year world sugar markets has declined and this may soon start to impact the EU price.  The reference period for the calculation does not begin to operate until October this year, so none of the current market movements are actually affecting the price that growers will receive.