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Nordzucker's 2017/2018 campaign ends with good yields

After an average of 117 days, Nordzucker Group has almost completed the campaign, with solid sugar yields. Organic beet was processed in two plants for the first time. Long periods of rainfall in the majority of the Group’s regions impeded harvest, logistics and processing throughout the campaign.

By the end of the campaign, Nordzucker will have processed a total of approximately 17 million tonnes (previous year: 15) of beet in 13 plants. The majority of the plants have already finished processing. Overall, this year’s sugar yields are good. Some regions even achieved peak performances.

For the first time, the plants in Schladen (Germany) and Nykøbing (Denmark) processed organic beet in a slightly earlier campaign, gaining processing experience under real conditions.

“Our plants operated steadily, even though this campaign was very challenging,” explains Axel Aumüller, Chief Operating Officer. “Our teams in the plants had their hands full with the unusually large amount of soil that came with the beet. This year proved once more that the investments we make in our facilities really pay off. Despite all obstacles, we had no major faults to deal with,” says Axel Aumüller.

“We achieved great yields – despite the considerable rainfall in virtually all regions. And the cooperation between the growers, service providers and AgriCenter was exceptional. Even when the weather conditions caused occasional bottlenecks, everyone played their part in what was a successful campaign in the end,” comments Dr Lars Gorissen, Chief Agricultural Officer. He continues: “Our beet is competitive – as we can see by the good yields produced even in such a difficult year as this.”

Below is an overview of the results by country:

After an average of 127 days, a very rainy campaign is coming to a close at the five German plants. With almost 14 tonnes of sugar per hectare (previous year: 13.5), yields remain at a solid level against the previous year, despite the fact that there were considerable differences in the regions. Due to the long periods of rain and difficult conditions on some fields, not all the beet was harvested.

The campaign in Denmark went exceedingly well, despite the weather conditions making the harvest difficult and the plants occasionally not having enough beet to process. The two plants in Nakskov and Nykøbing processed average beet yields at a stable level up until 8 January over an average of 113 days. The sugar beet was drilled under good conditions in the spring. An overall rainy and cloudy summer and autumn led to sugar yields of 12.4 tonnes (previous year: 12.8). This figure is slightly below the five-year average.

Despite some challenges, the Örtofta plant had a successful campaign. It will last around 118 days this year and is expected to end on 19 January. With a sugar yield of 10.6 tonnes per hectare, the results are slightly below the five-year average. An usually long sowing period in March/April was followed by good growing conditions for beet in the summer. Long periods of rain impeded the harvest here, too, in the autumn.

Säkylä in Finland was the first plant to complete its campaign on 2 December 2017, with an average sugar yield of almost six tonnes per hectare (previous year: 6.8). Heavy rainfall at the beginning of the campaign affected the first few weeks of processing. For the first time, beet was delivered around the clock. The virtually uninterrupted processing period lasted a total of 60 days.

The Kėdainiai plant in Lithuania was operating at a high level and more or less without interruption over 106 days until 26 December. A cool spring in all of the northern countries led to a delay in sowing of about two weeks. A wet summer and wet conditions during the harvest posed a number of challenges this campaign. At almost 9.7 tonnes per hectare (previous year: 11.7 tonnes), sugar yields are slightly below the five-year average.

The rain in Poland had a severe impact on harvesting and loading the beet. A few areas were left unharvested due to the wet conditions. At 12.2 tonnes of sugar per hectare, the yield this year is average, but pleasing (previous year: 12.8). After an average of 124 campaign days, the campaign is expected to end on 23 January 2018.

Prolonged drought in Slovakia during the beet’s growth phase left its mark. After 93 campaign days, processing ended on 6 January in Trenčianska Teplá with just below average sugar yields of 9.3 tonnes per hectare (previous year: 12.7). The campaign only began on 2 October due to long rainy periods and unfavourable harvesting conditions.

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