Bloomberg News

U.K. Beet Harvest May Top Record on Autumn Rain, NFU Sugar Says

February 22, 2012

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s sugar-beet crop will be a record this year after favorable weather boosted output, said William Martin, NFU Sugar board chairman.

Rainfall last autumn boosted soil moisture just after planting, increasing yields, Martin said, adding that dry weather last summer didn’t curb the crop. He didn’t specify a figure for production. Associated British Foods Plc on Jan. 19 forecast output at 1.25 million metric tons this year versus just under 1 million tons last year.

“Our yields are higher than they’ve ever been before,” Martin said at the National Farmers Union conference in Birmingham. “Last year, the weather we had was very beneficial. It was a dry summer and we were nervous about the impact it was having on sugar beets but it ended up working out very well and farmers are very happy.”

U.K. farmers will probably plant about the same amount of sugar beets next season as this year because demand for the sweetener has increased and production this year may be accounted for, Martin said.

“The area should be almost the same next year,” he said. “Our customers were able to use all the sugar we produced, so they’re keen for us to grow a similar amount again next year.”

--Editor: John Deane

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Tony C. Dreibus at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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