British Sugar has said it will help beet growers with the extra costs involved in hauling their crop after an horrendous season.

With the Bury St Edmunds and Wissington sugar factories now closed for the season, farmers are faced with higher costs in getting their late-harvested crops to sugar factories further from them.

But in a move welcomed by East Anglian growers still struggling amid dire conditions in the field, the company said it would meet three quarters of the extra costs involved for those who would normally deliver to the two closed plants.

British Sugar agriculture director Dan Green said: “We are fully committed to helping growers bring in their crop to our factories and have recently announced additional support measures for Wissington and Bury growers to get their beet into either Cantley or Newark, now that Bury and Wissington’s Campaigns have finished.

“Following discussions with NFU Sugar, British Sugar is meeting 75% of the additional costs for those Bury and Wissington growers still to lift and deliver, to divert their beet to Cantley or Newark.

"In addition to this, we are also hiring an additional boiler at Cantley to increase throughput at that factory. This coupled with the actions we’ve taken to deliberately slow down throughput at our factories, extending campaign by over 50 days, totals a multi-million-pound commitment by us in support of our growers.

“With Cantley and Newark due to finish their campaigns in early April, we continue to work together with our growers, harvesters and hauliers to bring the 2023/24 campaign to a close.”

James Forrest, who farms at Stonham, near Stowmarket, is still trying to get his crop in after wet and mud brought his winter harvest to a standstill.

East Anglian Daily Times:

He hopes to get the rest of his beet crop harvested next week weather permitting. "It has been a painful season," he admitted.

He welcomed the move by British Sugar. "It has been a long and difficult campaign and for those of us that have tried to be patient in terms of delayed harvesting - we would normally like to have the beet finished well in January - the fact we are nearly six weeks later has a knock-on effect on spring work."