Scottish farmers urged to rethink sugar beet

Event launched to showcase possibilities of sugar beet production

clock • 2 min read
Farmers in Scotland are being urged to rethink sugar beet production
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Farmers in Scotland are being urged to rethink sugar beet production

An event urging farmers to rethink sugar beet production is being launched in Scotland.

Although once widely grown in arable areas of the country, the crop fell out of favour following the closure of British Sugar's processing factory at Cupar in 1972.

However, farmers are now being asked to take a closer look at the benefits of beet at a farm demonstration event hosted by Stracathro Estates, at Brae of Pert, Brechin on November 15.

According to organisers, the event follows on from well-attended online farmer focus group meetings which received positive feedback and a good deal of interest.

During the session, there will be an opportunity to see the estate's harvester in action and learn more about the crop and equipment required.

Gordon Cairns, former farm manager and now a director of Stracathro Estates has grown sugar and fodder beet to feed the farm's anaerobic digestion (AD) plant for several years.

See also: Keep an eye on beet disease development

Mr Cairns said: "Many potential growers are keen on the crop but are put off by the thought of harvesting during the autumn and winter months. We want to show that this not really a problem.

"We were able to harvest successfully within a few days of the recent storms. The harvester is a big machine but it is self-propelled and runs on wide, low pressure tyres. Because it has a 16 tonne hopper it can empty on the headland and does not need a tractor and trailer to run alongside it."

The farm tour will include viewing the crop, seeing the harvester and cleaning equipment in action and a description of the AD plant. Members of the Sugar Beet Project group from SAC Consulting (Part of Scotland's Rural College - SRUC), SAOS, IBioIC, and farmer representatives will be on hand to present the projects objectives and next steps.

Project coordinator Iain Riddell said: "This is will be a great opportunity for farmers to learn more about sugar beet and add their thoughts to the discussion."

Find out how to book here

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