New sugar beet contract agreed for 2022

22 September 2021

NFU Sugar and British Sugar have announced a one-year sugar beet contract from 2022, including the continuation of the Virus Yellows assurance scheme and the futures-linked contract.

The one-year contract for 2022 will pay a fixed price of £27 per adjusted tonne. Current multi-year contracted growers will have the option to upgrade to a fixed £25 per adjusted tonne by contracting for an additional contract year. There will be no separate market-linked bonus. These prices are on a zero-crown tare basis, meaning growers are paid for the entire roots of beet they deliver.

In addition, NFU Sugar and British Sugar have agreed to continue the innovative futures-linked variable priced contract, giving growers the ability to make their own pricing decisions for a portion of their contract. Futures-linked contracts will be available for a maximum of 30 days from the contracting window opening. This will now be open to all growers, who will have the option to allocate up to 10% of their tonnage onto this contract.

Also new for this year is a local premium for all growers up to 28 miles contract distance from their nearest factory. It will start at £2/t for growers up to nine miles, this will then reduce on a linear scale down to 10p/mile up to 28 miles.

Setting standards

NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said:

“Following another difficult negotiation, we have finally managed to agree terms with British Sugar. The substantial increase in the one-year contract price reflects the increased costs and risk sugar beet growers now face and recognises the fact that sugar beet must offer returns comparable with alternatives.

“After a successful pilot this year, the futures-linked variable priced contract will now be available to all UK sugar beet growers. This contract offers both growers and the processor the potential to lock in attractive prices, meaning all parties can benefit from it. Other countries around the EU are starting to follow our lead on this and I am sure that this type of contract will become increasingly common as EU countries modernise their thinking and practices.”

A competitive package for growers

Peter Watson, Agriculture Director, British Sugar said:

“We are pleased to be able to share the agreed contract prices with growers after a long negotiation. Our aim was always to agree a fair and sustainable price for all and we believe this is what we have achieved.

“Together with our Virus Yellows assurance scheme, the new local premium and the futures-linked, contract we believe the contracts offer a competitive package for growers.”

Virus Yellows assurance scheme

The Virus Yellows (VY) crop assurance scheme introduced for 2021 will continue to compensate growers for a proportion of yield losses suffered where a grower has Virus Yellows present in their crop. This is a three-year, £12 million fund, underwritten by British Sugar covering all new and existing contracts and there are no changes to the terms and conditions.

More advice for growers

  • Both NFU Sugar and British Sugar agreed to continued investment in the future of the sugar industry through science-led advice and guidance from the BBRO, innovation in seed technology, and industry-wide advocacy for plant protection products and future breeding techniques.
  • Beet growers who contract with British Sugar online can return their contract offer on the My British Sugar portal. Growers who do not contract online will receive their contract offer in the post. Contracting will be open by mid-October.
  • Any questions regarding the new contract or seed ordering, should be directed to the Contract Manager in the first instance. Alternatively, contact British Sugar Grower Services on 0800 090 2376.
  • Growers can contact the NFU CallFirst team who can assist with any enquiries on 0370 845 8458.

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