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Nordzucker Post 1/2024 - 25 January 2024

Long campaign: early start, late finish by mid-February

This year’s particularly long campaign is coming to an end. Overall, a good 90 per cent of the beet in Germany has already been processed.

Due to high beet yields combined with a low sugar content, the campaign is expected to run until mid-February at many Nordzucker locations. Wet weather and the subsequent onset of frost have made the campaign more difficult in recent weeks.

The 2023 beet year was above all: wet. Abundant rainfall and cold weather in spring led to the latest sowing in years in all growing regions in northern and central Germany. It was not until mid-April that the weather allowed beet to be sown across the whole area. Dry phases in May and June slowed down the development of the young plants, but the wet summer in many places then brought a growth spurt – the beet was able to catch up and significantly increase in mass.

Low sugar content

The rain in August and September not only made early harvesting more difficult in many places, but also led to a further growth spurt – and to the spread of leaf diseases. As a result, beet quality declined, and the sugar content is at a historically low level of around 16.5 per cent on average. This means that more water has to be evaporated in the factories to crystallise the same amount of sugar. As a result, the increased effort costs energy.

Processing level adapted to qualities

Continuous rain, flooding, snow, and ice in many parts of Nordzucker’s growing regions have made harvesting, transport and processing more difficult in recent weeks. Fields were or are still under water, cannot be reached or are difficult to drive on. In addition, the beet arrives at the factories with a lot of soil, which also complicates the processing process and increases the workload.  However, despite these conditions, processing is stable overall – most recently at a lower level due to declining beet quality.  Alexander Godow, COO: “The long campaign is a particular challenge for the employees and the plants. Occupational safety is a top priority, especially under these conditions.”

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