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With yields plunging, sugar beet growers in UK may discontinue growing crop in wake of neonicotinoid insecticide ban

Sugar beet is a crop that has always demanded close attention to grow well, but Norfolk grower Mark Means has taken that meaning to a whole new level. Like many growers he’s concerned about how farmers are going to feed the world with all the restrictions been forced upon them.

The loss of neonic seed treatments has completely changed the landscape for beet growers who are now facing a new set of challenges.

“We’re never likely to see the high yields of sugar beet again without the neonics,” says Mark. “We’re planning to have beet in the rotation up until 2020, but beyond that is questionable. I can see the cost of spraying it, and the yields that we’re producing, aren’t going to justify growing the crop.

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The loss of neonics has undoubtedly made the management more complex across the whole farm, says Farmacy’s Matt Ward, who’s responsible for the agronomy on Mark’s farm.

“We’ve had more conversations this year because of the impact the sugar beet has had on the management of the rest of the farm. Sugar beet agronomy has become much more complex but it’s not just the beet that needs spraying,” he comments.

Read full, original articles: Sugar beet roundtable – Tough decisions ahead

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