Beet growers urged to protect crop potential

images (5) Beet growers have been urged to check and protect crops with an appropriate fungicide by researchers at Broom’s Barn.

With a potential threat from rust or powdery mildew seen at low levels in some more forward crops, farmers have been urged to keep alert and spray if thought necessary.

With less than two months before British Sugar’s starts the latest campaign in mid-September, the beet crop has grown exceptionally well across large parts of the eastern region since the rain.

As most farmers recognised although the crop was drilled very early and achieved good initial growth, the long dry spell obviously checked development/

However the latest rainfall records for June, as reported in the EDP, revealed a range from a peak of 100mm to a low of 45mm. And since then there has been further significant rainfall and many farmers have reported fields close to capacity, which is quite remarkable for the third week of July.

The decision to open factories in the middle of September will be welcomed by most growers, especially those keen to lift early on heavier land. As Norfolk’s champion farmer Robert Alexander, of Pulham Market, told visitors during the tour of the arable business, last year he lifted early after being persuaded by his father Colin.

British Sugar’s pre-campaign sampling will start in early August, when the first of the six-week samples are taken. But of course, the crop has great potential to continue growing especially given adequate rainfall and more importantly, sunshine.

Through August and into September, the average crop can add almost one tonne of sugar per hectare per week in good growing conditions. And in an autumn, with reasonable temperatures, the crop can keep on growing.

Brooms Barn, which is based near Bury St Edmunds, has advised growers to consider a fungicide application in late July especially when the conditions have remained damp and warm.

Members of Stalham Farmers’ Club are invited to enter the latest best two acres and best whole crop of sugar beet. The classes – Best two acres of sugar beet, one entry per grower and best field of whole beet, of more than 20 acres – only one entry, please. And for the potato cup, the best field of more than 10 acres. This is likely to be judged early in August.

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