28th
Jun
2013

Posted in Kafevend Blog

Sugar beet accounts for around 20% of the sugar produced worldwide. Grown in temperate areas, sugar beet production in Europe was a necessity as the Royal Navy blockaded French ports in the Napoleonic wars and thus halted sugarcane imports. Sugar beet production took off in Britain after World War One to try and help it become more self sufficient and to capitalise on a vital cash crop. Much of the sugar beet grown in Britain comes from farms in East Anglia and the East Midlands, and accounts for a little over 50% of the sugar consumed in the country.

This year, however, the sugar beet crop has been decimated by an unknown malady, with some areas losing almost two thirds of the yield. A startling amount of seeds failed to emerge, and to rub salt into the wound, a number of those that did grow were deformed, also bearing "corkscrew" roots.

As mentioned, the exact cause of this issue is unknown at present, but the poor weather we have had for such an extended period of time could be the culprit. Along with the chill and the damp, the topsoil on many fields was blown away during a particularly gusty period during April. The wind, reaching 55mph at some points, was even causing airborne particles of sand to lacerate the growing crops.

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