WORD ON THE GROUND: I have to mention the weather!
It is with some trepidation that I warn you that this article may include weather references.
The last two weeks have finally seen frantic activity at the sticky end of Lincolnshire, the tide has receded and land too wet to put a wheel on, has now been teased into cropping and on our farm two fields reserved for sugar beet last spring but too wet to drill at any viable point since, now have nice neat drilled rows of hope and optimism.
It has probably already been chewed over in this column, but sugar beet has once again become the hottest topic in the fenland farming fraternity, with contracts signed before the full horror of last season unfurled.
Some have reluctantly drilled the crop and vowed it’ll be the last time and some more passionate souls have no doubt defied the contract, not drilled at all and risk being taken to court.
Losses were accrued from many crops in 2020 but the beet crop’s usual dependable ability to conform to budget and provide a profit margin, fell completely from grace with costs far exceeding income, with, in many cases, big contracts on the best and most expensive land producing the biggest losses.
Whilst British Sugar acknowledge the difficulties, they do seem blinkered to the prospect of farmers voting with their feet due to shouldering an unfair proportion of the risk involved.
Finally, dare I mention we could do with a nice rain? Best not eh?