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French Sugar-Beet Crop 85% Harvested as Rain Hampers Field Work

France’s sugar-beet harvest, the biggest in the European Union, was 85 percent completed as of Nov. 18 compared with 95 percent at the same time a year ago, growers federation CGB reported.

Harvest conditions have been “difficult” after rain soaked fields, becoming increasingly so further north in the country, the Paris-based CGB wrote on its website yesterday.

Beets continued growing in November, prompting some sugar processors in the Loiret, Aisne and Nord-Est regions to lift their outlook for productivity, according to the report. Higher-than-expected beet weight means French sugar processors will on average operate 100 days this campaign, two more days than initially estimated, CGB said.

“While the work is ending in most beet-growing regions, lifting continues in particularly critical conditions in the coastal zone,” the CGB wrote.

Processors received 60 percent of the beet crop as of Nov. 18, according to the growers group. Soil content in cargoes was 12.5 percent of the weight of cleaned beets, 5 percentage points higher than last year, the CGB said.

“Very heavy” rain in October disrupted the supply of the roots to processors, prompting some sugar factories to lift restrictions on soil content in beet cargoes to keep their plants running, industry researcher Institut Technique de la Betterave said Nov. 6.

The CGB repeated a forecast for white, or refined, sugar yields of about 12.5 metric tons per hectare (2.47 acres) of beets.

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