After a challenging few years for the sector, growers and the wider industry rejoiced at the recent announcement that the 2023 price for the crop will rise significantly to £40/t.
CPM spoke to British Sugar’s agriculture director, Daniel Green to find out more about the opportunities for both existing and new growers next year.
The 2023 beet price is a 48% increase on last year. What’s behind such an increase?
It’s a significant increase but the £40/t price reflects higher input costs and the alternative crop market. We believe our offer is competitive and provides growers with choice, security and profitability at an extremely challenging time.
With the high beet price can growers request to grow more beet next year?
They can, yes. If growers wish to apply for additional tonnes on the 2023/24 contract and/or the 2023/24 Futures-linked contract, then they’re welcome to do so. That said, additional tonnes will be limited where processing capability is already full.
You’ve introduced a new assurance product called ‘yield protection cover’. What’s that about?
We’re really pleased to introduce yield protection cover as it literally covers any cause of yield loss in the crop, whether it’s virus yellows, cercospora, drought, or any other loss of yield. We worked with the NFU to create this new product and we’re hearing it’s being well-received, particularly because growers were asking for ways to mitigate risk in the crop. It’s a sizable fund on offer by British Sugar; £28.5M for a 95,000ha crop.
What does it cost the grower and how does it work?
Yield protection cover costs £1.50/t, so in relation to the £40/t contract price, growers who purchase the product will get £38.50/t – which should still allow a comfortable margin, even with the purchase of the cover. For that £1.50/t commitment, growers get peace of mind knowing they will receive a guaranteed payment for at least 80% of their expected crop.
What’s the small print?
Well, to qualify for yield protection cover, first, growers must make an accurate crop area declaration in 2023. They also have to clearly demonstrate they have seed for at least 1.15 units/ha as shown on their invoices. Finally, they also have to have completed drilling by 1 June 2023.
We’ll make the yield protection cover payments once all beet has been delivered at the end of the 23/24 campaign, and once all tonnages have been verified. So that means payments are likely to be in either April or May 2024.
How do growers apply for yield protection cover?
We’re going to re-open the contract pages in the My British Sugar industry portal between 1 December and 1 February, and that’s the time when growers can opt-in. They can also opt-in to the 20% cash advance at that time, and tell us if they wish to upgrade their multi-year contracts.
So multi-year contract prices are increasing?
Yes, we’re giving growers with tonnage on multi-year contracts the option to upgrade to an enhanced price of £40/t if they contract for 2024/25. If they upgrade, they’ll then be eligible to purchase yield protection cover.
And what if they choose not to upgrade?
Then those growers will still benefit from an increased base contract price of £32/t as we still want to recognise inflationary pressures.
Lastly, you’re offering a cash advance once again. When will that be paid?
We’re offering a 20% cash advance on the 2023/24 crop which growers can opt-in to. That will be paid into bank accounts in June next year. Growers just need to opt-in when we re-open the contract page between December and February, and then submit their 2023/24 crop area declaration in the spring.
For more information about the 2023/24 sugar beet contract, existing growers can contact their British Sugar account manager. New growers and former growers looking to return to sugar beet can call British Sugar’s farm support team on freephone 0800 090 2376 or email: email@example.com