In UK, sugar beet contract prices likely to be below next year — NFU Sugar

Sugar beet prices for the 2025-26 contract are expected to be lower than the fixed price of £40/t being offered for the 2024-25 contract, according to NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly.

It is reported by

Spot markets have dropped by more than 20% since peaking in January, with global sugar production for 2023-24 forecast at a record 183.5 million tonnes.

Mr Sly said NFU Sugar was currently in the middle of negotiations with British Sugar for next year’s sugar beet price.

He said: «We did make growers aware in a joint statement that the global sugar markets have come off. We wanted to make sure growers were aware that if they were going to make any significant investments, the price they are going to get in 2025 will be lower».

The UK cropping area for 2024-25 is estimated by industry at 102,500 ha, which would be the largest planted area for several years.

Mr Sly said: «The current crop is looking generally well, although it was planted later. We are finally getting the sunshine and warmth which we all needed, but we are getting some soil-borne pest issues on certain soil types. We don’t need to remind you how wet May and June have been, but the positive effect of that is that it has reduced aphid levels in the crop. But we must remember that 80% of the crop didn’t have Cruiser seed treatments».

The cool, wet and windy weather over the past few weeks has helped to limit aphid build up, according to the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO).

It said growers were seeing myriad small issues across the growing region, including multicrowning, bacterial leaf spot and downy mildew, but none of these was creating any widespread concern at the moment.