Farmers in western Europe have begun sugar beet planting, with first indications pointing to a drop in area for the next harvest after a price slump fueled by the end of European Union production quotas.
The market downturn has prompted Europe’s biggest sugar refiner Suedzucker to announce the closure of several factories by 2020, which could lead farmers in affected zones to make further cuts to beet planting next year.
EU sugar output could be reduced by a further 700,000 tonnes by aphid attacks, with many farmers in the bloc no longer allowed to use neonicotinoid pesticides because of concerns they are harmful to bees….In France, the EU’s largest beet grower which has forbidden these crop chemicals, the area drop could reach 8 percent compared to last year, he said.
As of [mid March], French farmers had sown about 1 percent of 445,000 hectares expected in 2019….Frequent showers this month have slowed early sugar beet planting, contrasting with rapid spring barley sowing in February during a warm, dry spell. In Germany, chilly conditions were holding up planting.
Read full, original article: Low Prices to Eat Into EU Sugar Beet Area as Planting Starts