British Sugars Penultimate Sugar Campaign. 2021/22

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
As I get older I take less and less notice of anything that comes out of DEFRA.
Would you grab a couple of passing ramblers and ask their advice on how to run your farm? Anyway I digress.
I actually enjoy growing things beneath all the huffing and puffing and complaining. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing. I like growing crops. It’s like having a huge garden. I think people who supply us and buy from us capitalise on this fact. They know we aren’t just doing it for the money or we would have packed up years ago. So they lean more and more on us. The only thing that will stop a lot of crop production is when the bank account runs dry but while there is enough in it to buy next years inputs we carry on however paltry the returns because 50% of it is a hobby and lifestyle and the customers and suppliers know that.
 
As I get older I'm starting to not give a phuc anymore, if we end up with food shortages sod em, at least we will have the enjoyment of saying "Told you"

Same here. Don’t give a stuff about producing food because that’s what we’ve always done. Times are changing and we are farming for environmental benefit and not food production. I’ll grow what I want in the veg garden and some meat in a paddock and put the rest into full stewardship.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
Just because I won’t be joining a stewardship scheme doesn’t mean I won’t be doing environmental work. I have about 3 kg of pollinator mix sat in the porch. It will go in awkward corners, along ditch banks, and in the wood, most importantly when and where I decide.
Other than that it’s business as usual here, concentrating on getting 3 tons per acre as cheaply as possible. I just don’t want the control, interference and bureaucracy of the state designed system.
 

traineefarmer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Mid Norfolk
And they are hamstrung by a global commodity price, and sugar is gradually being cut from our diets, and the political will isn't there to promote British sugar because globalisation and international trade is King...

I have no doubt that we are watching the slow death of the sugar industry in Europe. The biggest problem in the UK is the monopolistic nature of BS.

I've often wondered about the viability of a mini sugar plant in a shed to bag up some "rustic white" for farmers markets.
 
I've often wondered about the viability of a mini sugar plant in a shed to bag up some "rustic white" for farmers markets.


They make it sound like a piece of cake.

There will be big energy cost as soon as the process needs "hot water".

I'd be interested to learn how much bagged granulated sugar is made from 1,000kg of beet, and how much margin there is per tonne of beet processing. I suspect the whole thing is based on serious economies of scale.
 

digger64

Member
I imagine I'm going to raise a lot of anger with this post, but I'm questioning a lot of what's in this thread.

Nobody is going to earn money from beet this year aside from fert and chem suppliers. They already have our money for product we threw onto an unviable crop. Hauliers and contractors have less tonnage to handle, BS don't have the beet quotas fulfilled and an extended processing period to fund and growers have low yield and low sugars. This desperate situation is raising grower's emotions which are being vented on threads like this one.

As pointed out BS can't afford anything other than a meagre price increase for beet, but they know that we CAN afford to grow them at £20-21/ton as we have accepted that price for half a decade!

I find there's a lot of "old school" thinking when it comes to beet agronomy. Crops musty be clean, green and "meeting in the row by the Norfolk show". Balls. Cut out the 2 applications of escolta, trim back the N, don't fret about the fat hen. Also stop lifting the whole crop the week before the factory opens. Hold some back to top up on the late delivery bonus.

Work the system like BS does against you.
excludeing harvest and seed what is the biggest variable cost ?
 

They make it sound like a piece of cake.

There will be big energy cost as soon as the process needs "hot water".

I'd be interested to learn how much bagged granulated sugar is made from 1,000kg of beet, and how much margin there is per tonne of beet processing. I suspect the whole thing is based on serious economies of scale.
16% sugar = 160kg. Don't forget the value of the pulp
 

farmerfred86

Member
BASIS
Location
Suffolk
As a none beet grower I know nothing of the crop but what I do see is BS making £100 million profit and their growers loosing money.

So either stop growing it or take over BS as a group.
On the continent farmers own many of the sugar firms. Belgium and France it is quite normal I believe?

To be fair to BS they also need to make a profit. Why shouldn't they. If they don't they cant reinvest and I therefore am resigned to loosing the industry - they've said they cant afford any more and that's fair enough. They don't have to. Its a shame to see this industry go and even more sad to accept that the public will be oblivious to greater imports from areas such as Brazil.
 

Foxhollow

Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
I always have a problem when people quote values for profit and not percentage as it is only looking at percentage profit do you get a picture of whether profit is good or bad. Looking at British Sugar accounts the £100m profit represents 6.3% operating profit which is not a huge amount to reinvest into to a business. The grocery side of Associated British Foods was 12.4 %, the agriculture side was 3.1%, the ingredients side was 9.8%, retail side was 6.1%
I have always worked on the basis that if you are making between 5-10% profit you are doing OK at the lower end of that you are starting to get a bit too low. As there then would be very little money for capital expenditure for betterment/ major renewals which if not done may increase your operating costs. We tend to always think that profit is a dirty word it is not and any company needs a profit to just survive for the future. If you are not making a profit then you will always just stand still and end up going down.

Unfortunately British Sugar as any major commodity company is at the mercy of a very fluctuating and unstable market place and so needs essentially more profit/savings to weather a bad patch without affecting the supply chain. It is always a difficult and fine line as to whether you can and are able to pass on the pain/gain share of a very unstable market fairly without affecting yourself or other members of the supply chain. So it is always easy to blame British Sugar but everyone in the supply chain needs to to work together and have a fair pain/gain share arrangement or the whole chain will unravel and no one will win.
 
British sugar are in a monopoly position, if they can't make money in that circumstance they are a fudging shower- lets not beat around the bush here. They are then owned by ABF who are so large they might as well be in an even larger monopoly position.

I'll say it again: my heart bleeds. No one is forcing them to even process or sell the stuff, in fact, there is no law that says they can't buy in cane syrup from abroad and refine that and flog it, only they wouldn't be able to put a Union Jack on it.

The usual blarg about being a commodity producer etc etc- it seems to work for the remainder of the global sugar industry who also have the same issues to contend with?

Now then, is it true or not that British sugar have received substantial monies out of the CAP over the years or is that false?
 

Steevo

Member
Location
Gloucestershire
British sugar are in a monopoly position, if they can't make money in that circumstance they are a fudging shower- lets not beat around the bush here. They are then owned by ABF who are so large they might as well be in an even larger monopoly position.

I'll say it again: my heart bleeds. No one is forcing them to even process or sell the stuff, in fact, there is no law that says they can't buy in cane syrup from abroad and refine that and flog it, only they wouldn't be able to put a Union Jack on it.

The usual blarg about being a commodity producer etc etc- it seems to work for the remainder of the global sugar industry who also have the same issues to contend with?

Now then, is it true or not that British sugar have received substantial monies out of the CAP over the years or is that false?

Agreed with a lot of that.

Tate and Lyle manage to put a Union Jack on their imported sugar.
 

teslacoils

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
British sugar are in a monopoly position, if they can't make money in that circumstance they are a fudging shower- lets not beat around the bush here. They are then owned by ABF who are so large they might as well be in an even larger monopoly position.

Bs are making money. And the cheaper they can buy the beet, the more money the make for the owners. So long as growers keep growing why should they care? And growers have demonstrated that they are happy to be paid less and less, year by year, and put up with extended campaigns etc. So exactly who's running the better business?
 

nick...

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
south norfolk
Bs are making money. And the cheaper they can buy the beet, the more money the make for the owners. So long as growers keep growing why should they care? And growers have demonstrated that they are happy to be paid less and less, year by year, and put up with extended campaigns etc. So exactly who's running the better business?
Nail on the head
nick...
 

Flat 10

Member
Location
Fen Edge
Bs are making money. And the cheaper they can buy the beet, the more money the make for the owners. So long as growers keep growing why should they care? And growers have demonstrated that they are happy to be paid less and less, year by year, and put up with extended campaigns etc. So exactly who's running the better business?
Are they making money? Losses on the sugar division in 2 out of last 5 years i thought was mentioned last week in that meeting (2nd hand info). ABF will pull the plug if they can't make any money and then there will be no beet grown at all......
 

teslacoils

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
Are they making money? Losses on the sugar division in 2 out of last 5 years i thought was mentioned last week in that meeting (2nd hand info). ABF will pull the plug if they can't make any money and then there will be no beet grown at all......

Does sugar business include topsoil / associated parts? Are they real losses or accounting losses? Do / would you believe them?

On the flip side, if bs made a loss, would / should the grower care?

Should growers repeatedly grow a loss making crop, or one that causes so much soil damage, for "old times sake"? Bs will cart out the "all in it together" line again, and folk will grow it to keep grandad happy.

If you've not got money invested in kit, or land that can be fixed really easily, just get out now!
 

Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Written by Lisa Applin

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In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is 1 of the 3 new environmental land management schemes. It sits alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers will be paid for environmentally sustainable actions – ones that are simple to do and do not require previous agri-environment scheme experience.

We are piloting the scheme to...
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