Complete: Monitoring sugar beet storage

Timescale: 2012 - 2016
Project Lead: Colin Walters
Project Sponsor: BBRO

Project Summary

The project will re-evaluate sugar losses during storage to take account of modern 'whole beet' recovery practices and the increasing use of A-shaped storage clamps.

Main Objectives

Two recent changes in beet delivery practice, require the losses of sugar during storage to be re-evaluated.  These are the introduction of 'whole beet' delivery and the greater use of self-propelled, high throughput cleaner/loaders that need a different shape of clamp. 'Whole beet' delivery practices mean more crown and green leaf material will be put into beet stores with the potential to increase sugar losses through sprouting and increased clamp temperatures .  The losses could, however, be partially offset by the beet having a much smaller topping scar which offers less opportunity  for sugar to be respired from damaged tissues. The new self-propelled, high-throughput cleaner/loaders require long A-shaped clamps which have a much greater surface area to volume ratio and very different temperature profiles than conventional, rectangular clamps.  The effects of these two factors may well be exacerbated by many more growers opting to lift and store their beet following their experiences during the latter part of the 2010/11 growing season and the impact of frosts.

Latest Report

Outcomes / Key Message For Growers And Industry

This project has reinforced previous findings:

  • Higher temperatures result in higher losses, and so storing beet in autumn can exacerbate this
  • The longer the beet is stored for, the more sugar is lost
  • Losses largely range between 0.08% and 0.14%/day
  • There is no evidence to suggest there is a difference between the effects of Maus and Conventional Clamps on losses


There has been no significant scientific findings from this project to date and whilst the project was due to continue a further year, the planned shortened campaigns for 2015 and 2016 reduce the prospect of comparable data.  The project is therefore closed as of 1st October 2015.

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BBRO is a not for profit making company.
We are set up jointly by British Sugar plc and the National Farmers' Union.

British Sugar
National Farmers' Union