In UK, a pilot environmental scheme launched for sugar beet growers

A new pilot scheme is being offered to sugar beet growers to help them access incentive payments for the roll out of environmental services on-farm. The scheme, launched by NFU Energy, NFU Sugar and Nestle, offers growers the opportunity to sell environmental services to downstream supply chain partners. It aims to allow manufacturers of goods containing homegrown sugar to invest directly in the environmental sustainability of their raw materials.

It is reported by farminguk.

The pilot's first step will offer growers who have drilled sugar beet with nitrogen placement (N-placement) in 2024 an incentive payment of £28/ha from Nestle, which wants to source 'lower carbon' sugar.

Nitrogen placement (N-placement) involves using specialised equipment to place fertiliser in close proximity to the sugar beet seed, facilitating faster growth during the early stages of germination.

Placing fertiliser with the seed encourages more effective uptake of the nutrients available and, therefore, generally reduces the total amount of nitrogen required by the crop.

NFU Sugar Board chair, Michael Sly said the scheme aims to deliver a climate-friendly sector while also giving growers the opportunity to be incentivised and fairly rewarded.

He said: «I hope this pilot, which will be small scale in the first year, paves the way for further opportunities to work with supply chain partners in incentivising growers to adopt lower carbon production methods».

NFU Energy has been working with Nestle for two years to create incentive payments for growers who are able to demonstrate environmentally friendly or reduced carbon agricultural practices on-farm.

To qualify for it, growers must register with NFU Energy and notify them of the number of hectares they have drilled with placement N-fertiliser in spring 2024.

Growers must then submit evidence by way of contractor invoices or field records, and a signed affidavit, to verify completion.