According to the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS), 14,000 more hectares of land were used for growing sugar beets in 2016 than 2015, an increase of 21 percent.
RTV Drenthe reports that the sugar beet companies in the north are the largest nationally, but the amount of beets produced per hectare in Drenthe is actually the lowest in the Netherlands: 85 tons of beets per hectare.
Dirk Jan Beuling of agriculture organisation LTO Noord attributes the lower production levels in Drenthe to the soil. “The ground in the IJsselmeerpolders is by far the best in the Netherlands, if not the world. In Drenthe, the soil quality is simply lower, but that is nothing new. But it’s been a good year sugar beets.”
The Suikerfabriek has overseen the acquisition of new land for growing beets over the past year, and a European sugar quota system was done away with last year. “That created more freedom in the industry to process more beets and for the farmers to grow more.” Beuling adds that global yield and profits has translated into plenty of available sugar, which is likely to mean lower prices by next year.