Estimates suggest that 80-90% of beet in the UK is loaded with a cleaner loader, it is difficult to get exact data as on farm decisions to load direct will often be based on current conditions and not farm policy.
“In the UK there are around 200 conventional cleaner loaders operating in various states of repair, and around 20 self-propelled machines” – P Fishpool, Nuffield Report 2016
The report clearly highlights the vast number of conventional cleaner loaders operating in the UK, whilst the 20 self-propelled machines will represent a far higher percentage of Beet loaded, the range in machine type and age is far less. As the author alludes to, the condition of the conventional loads will more variable which may lead to a far great range in losses.
The BBRO Sugar Beet Growers Guide 2002 suggests that poorly managed cleaner loaders can lose more than 2% of yield as pieces of beet; yield can also be further lost through damage made to the beet similar to that occurring when harvesting beet. Trials by AB Sugar in 2015 suggested that between 1.2% through self-propelled cleaner loaders, and 2.4% with conventional cleaner loaders, of yield loss through damage could be experienced. P Fishpool, Nuffield Report 2016
It is surprising to see UK estimates of beet loss are so low when European figures for new Self-propelled cleaners are comparatively high. This investigation will clarify whether a mix of on farm loaders have losses as low as previous AB data suggest or whether the scope for improvement is more substantial.
The Preliminary testing of cleaner loader losses will help to prove and develop an on farm / in field test that can be used passively by BBRO staff to monitor and inform cleaner loader operators on performance and potential improvements.